Recipe Number 1 – Cambodian Curry

Curry Small

I’ve wanted to do this for a while now, writing a bit about food and do some recipes. As most of you know I love to cook and have been knocking up breakfast lunch and dinner for my loved ones for a few years now, only had one death and that was almost certainly due to old age rather than the Butter Chicken, Tarka Daal and Chapatis although one can never really be sure when a bucket of Ghee goes into a dish. Anyway, I haven’t decided whether to separate this part of my writing out somewhere else or keep it here. I am going to keep a (mostly) healthy focus on the recipes and information on here as it is an important part of my training to be eating well. There are a few things I have lined up that fall outside the boundaries of “healthy” but I’m sure you’re all adults and can make sensible decisions on your own.

I would really welcome all comments and criticisms as I am new to writing recipes and I may occasionally miss out some information. I’d also appreciate any advice on how to photograph food, I don’t really know how best to light it.

So, onto the food…
Last week I was flicking through the tv guide when I came across Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey, I think I had seen it once before, but can’t have been paying much attention as this time I was blown away by the sight of some of the dishes on the program. I tried to find the recipes online, but apparently you have to buy the book to get the recipes. Not I said I so I watched it again to get the general idea and made the rest up, (not that I have anything against buying cookery books, on the contrary I love them, I just didn’t want to leave the house) so here is my recipe for a Cambodian – I think – Curry.

For the Curry Paste:
1 Stick of Lemongrass – try and get nice fresh ones as they don’t smash up too well when they’re old and dry
2 Shallots
1 tsp. Turmeric (If you can find fresh turmeric then definitely use it, but I couldn’t so powdered will do)
Thumb sized piece of Galangal – Ginger will do if you can’t get it, but Galangal is nicer!
1 red and 1 green Chilli
6 Kaffir Lime Leaves
Zest of 1 Lime
1 Tsp. Shrimp Paste – You can find this in good Asian supermarkets, it is a pinky / browny paste made from fermented ground shrimp!

For the Curry
2 Tbsp. Groundnut oil
500g Chicken on the bone – I used 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
Half a coconut – grated
300ml water
1 Tin of Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp. Palm Sugar
1 Tbsp. Fish Sauce
2 Tbsp. Tamarind Paste – Only just found this stuff – it’s made from Arabian Dates, it’s got a really acidic taste, and it’s well worth getting hold of some as it adds a lovely dimension to the dish
Large handful of torn Basil
100g Green Beans
1 large red Chilli

Small food processor / pestle and mortar
Wok / Large Pan


Take your Lemongrass and remove the tough outer leaves, give it a bit of a smash up with a rolling pin and slice as finely as you can. Chuck this into the food processor, finely slice the shallots, ginger and chillies and put these into the blender with the rest of the paste ingredients. Add a little water and blend to a paste. Put to one side
Skin your pieces of chicken and discard the skin.
Heat your oil in a large wok or heavy based pan and brown the chicken on all sides. Once this is done add the paste and stir to coat the chicken give this a couple of minutes to release the flavours and add the water and grated coconut, bring to the boil then turn down and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water has reduced to a thick gravy.
When the gravy has thickened put in your tin of coconut milk, Sugar, Tamarind and Fish Sauce and leave to simmer for a further ten minutes
While that’s simmering, top and tail your green beans and add them for the last 5 minutes
Once they’re added slice your chilli into rings and tear some basil roughly with your hands. Chuck the basil in and give it a quick stir before transferring to a serving dish and sprinkling over your sliced chilli

Serve with some sticky rice or noodles or just have it on its own, do what you want really, I’m not the accompaniment police.



Lies, lies and more lies

Ok, I lied in my previous post. Well, I didn’t lie, I was just a bit misguided as to how things were. I was in a post race haze of achievement.. pride… dare I say it, hubris. I assumed that even without the focus that Wimbleball created I would still be able to maintain the level of training and commitment I had when the propsect of a Half Ironman was looming. The fact that I was wrong is not in itself disappointing, it’s that I took so long to realise the damage that was being done sitting around drinking beer and eating cake. Not quite all the hard work I put in is now gone, but I’ve undone quite a lot of it. The only thing I can do about it is get back into routine and start preparing for next season.

Next Season
When I realised that my motivation was gone after Wimbleball I signed up again for the 2012 race, although seeing as I have already completed this race I felt a new challenge was needed so I entered Ironman UK 2012 4 weeks after Wimbleball. So on June 17th 2012 I will be racing 70.3 miles / 112km again and then on the 22nd July 2012 I will be racing a full 140.6 miles / 226km. Yay! Motivation indeed. There are some serious areas of work over the winter:

1) Weight – I put on about 7kgs in total since Wimbleball, which was pretty stupid, but I know what I need to do to lose that and more and it means giving up the booze. So, from January 1st – July 23rd – Excepting 1 stag do, one wedding and maybe a beer after Wimbleball I will be a teetotaler. I think foregoing 7 months of booze for this is a fair price. The added bonus being I’ll be a seriously cheap date afterwards!
2) Swimming – My swimming has seriously deteriorated from its once lofty heights – not really I was always rubbish, I’m just more so now. My 12.40 swim at Hever this weekend (more on that soon) was poor and only more time in the pool working on the correct technique is going to get me faster than that.
3) Consistency – It’s no good having one 15hr training week followed by 4 weeks of 0hrs.
4) Running – I have started developing my running with James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution – more on that another time

They are the key things I think – I hope Russ agrees, or I will have to write another post contradicting everything I wrote in the previous one.

From now on every Sunday / monday will be posting days, I have plenty of stuff to waffle on about and this kept me focussed last time, I’m hoping it will do it this time.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more


A tenuous Italian menu

The weekend just gone we had the in-laws up for Dinner. I use occasions like this to try out new things and give a good account of my skills in the kitchen although a combination of bad time management and alcohol usually conspire to make me look like a total fraud. This one went pretty well, although there were a couple of moments when I was standing in the kitchen utterly unable to remember what I was supposed to be doing, and I also lost a bag of rocket that I got out of the fridge to decorate a plate with, turned around to get the plates and when I turned back the rocket was gone! Just vanished, like into thin air or something. Also another thing I’ve noticed, that is obvious to anyone who comes to our flat is that the kitchen is too small for me. My tendency for complicated cooking and an inability to clear up after myself leads to a complete lack of work surface very quickly, I suppose it could be argued that a neater approach to cuisine might be a place to start, but I’ve tried it and I just don’t get on with it.

I originally wanted to do an autumnal british menu, but I was looking on Jamie’s website and I came across “leg of lamb stuffed with olives, bread, pinenuts and herbs” which looked brilliant so I decided to do an Italian menu, but it’s connection to Italy was tenous at best. I dug around on the internet for ideas and came up with:

Crab Salad

Jamie’s Leg of Lamb

Chocolate Mascarpone Cheescake

The original recipes are on the links above, I am going to reproduce what I did as I made some substitutions along the way. Mostly when I couldn’t get hold of an ingredient. After the recipes I’ll talk a bit about timing as I planned this quite well. Here we go:

Crab Salad

Serves 4

You will need cooking rings like these these are the only ones I’ve got and they’re 7 x 6cm – the recipe says 5x6cm, so just don’t fill em right to the top! Also, I have 2 of these and it’s fine to do them 2 at a time, but I think in a hot kitchen you would be in danger of collapse if you left them too long. I put them on the windowsill with the windows open to dress the plates and it worked ok.

For the tarragon vinaigrette
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 1 small pinch caster sugar
• 125ml olive oil
• 1/2 clove garlic, peeled and halved
• 1 sprig tarragon

For the salad
• 2 x Pots of White Crab Meat
• 2 x Pots dark crab meat
• 100ml mayonnaise
• 2 tsp tomato ketchup
• a few drops Worcestershire sauce
• a few drops tabasco
• 2 tsp cognac
• 1/2 lemon, juice only, plus extra for seasoning
• 1 avocado
• 1 apple
• 4 spring onions
• 1 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
• 1 handful Basil – Tenuous Italy link
• 6-10 cherry tomatoes, halved


A Race Report, by Matthew Billing aged 30years and 8months

Ironman Logo

I emailed my coach, Russ last week with my thoughts on pacing:

I think I will use avg speed on the bike, building up to around 25k/h. On the run I’m going to start at 6.20 minute k’s and try to speed up in the back half.

to which he replied:

Okay – go with how it feels too, remember how training feels and the paces you’re comfortable with

I was naive at best deluded at worst, here’s how it went…

I was staying with my boss Andy at a friend of his’ house (Emma) about 20 miles away from Wimbleball. I’d read quite a bit about the format here and the registration process was pretty painless, after dividing everything up into bags and taking them to the relevant places and racking the bikes we didn’t really have much to do apart from watch the rain. In the “athletes village” there were a few shops desperate to part me with my hard earned cash. i almost bought a pair of Oakley Jawbones, sense won over in the end, although I did buy a Craft Wind Jacket for only £29.95, a UK Ironman 70.3 jacket and some salt tablets, more on those later. I went and picked the wife up from the station at 3pm and got into a bit of a panic because I didn’t know where the station was, the petrol light was on and I was worried about getting back for the Mandatory Safety Briefing at 4. Unsurprisingly everything was fine. After the race briefing the rest of the afternoon comprised running around putting up tents and eating. Got back to Emma’s about 8pm, watched a bit of telly and went to bed.


Alarm went off at 4am, there was no difficulty in getting out of bed, porridge breakfast, and a 500ml bottle of energy drink and I was ready to go, got to the lake in plenty of time, did the last bit of faffing around with the bike, put my white bag into transition, got suited up and waited..

The Swim
I think I was most worried about this, I didn’t know whether I would panic in the water, but I had done enough open water swimming to know how to deal with it. I got into the water as soon as I could and acclimatised, let the water into my suit and started to get my face under. I turned around to look back at the shore and it was incredible to see all the rest of the athletes coming down the hill and the crowds cheering. It seemed like only seconds until the gun went off. I quickly settled into a pretty good rhythmn, not too much competition for space as I was quite wide on the right. I was sighting ok to the first buoy, but then I think it went a bit wrong. As we turned at the first buoy I couldn’t see the 2nd one, so I just followed the pack, about halfway (I think) down that side my garmin beeped to tell me I’d done 1km which worried me a bit because I didn’t think I should have done. As we turned the 2nd time onto the final leg I tried to keep the massive gatorade bottle on my right hand side which seemed to be working and I was swimming strong and comfortably, then I got cramp. First in my right calf, which I just let hang in the water which seemed to get rid of it, then in my left calf which I could not bend at the ankle, then back in my right calf. I was a bit worried then because my feet started to drop and I was struggling to keep going with just my arms. I came into the shore and couldn’t stand up and bend my calf out. Eventually crossed the timing mat in 00:45:49 and according to my garmin 2.29km!

On the run up the hill to T1 was nice to see the Wife and Dave clapping and cheering. I was really dizzy and having problems moving on my cramping calves. As I picked up my bike bag and went to get change, I got cramp in BOTH Adductors. Joy. 00:10:52 – ha ha!

The first 3 miles out of transition is hills, hills, hills, so I tried to spin slowly out and start taking on nutrition, unfortunately I dropped my bottle straight away and had to stop and pick it up. Started on my home made energy bars which were bloody lovely. The first quarter of the bike was fairly uneventful, was going along quite nicely, passing a few people, but the work rate was not too high, getting nice and aero and was really enjoying it. As I came down the big descent to machine cross I noticed my knee was a little bit painful. Got to the first climb and sailed up it, hardly had to get out of the saddle (27t on the back was an excellent purchase) 2nd hill much the same, didn’t have to get out of the saddle at all and that was the one I was worried about. Came down the hill to go up the 3rd and noticed an odd feeling in my back which turned into pain at the top of the hill, I stood up on the pedals and stretched out a bit and assumed the pain would go away. The next 20km or so turned out to be some of the darkest of the whole ride. I was slowing down because every pedal stroke was causing pain in my lower back. I managed to find a position, about 45Deg which didn’t hurt too much. By the start of the 2nd lap I was utterly sick of gels and actually feeling quite sick. I was even lying to myself about what I had had, I was trying to convince myself that I’d had a gel only a few minutes before, even though I knew it was time for another one. After the 2nd descent to Machine Cross I’d managed to get my average speed up to 23km/h which was ok, but at the start of the climbing I began to get really worried. I had to stop and have a stretch before the first hill, and getting up them all was agony. I was leaning so far over my handlebars to try and stop my back hurting I could almost lick the tyre (I didn’t, I’d definitely ridden though some horse shit somewhere along the course) the rest of the loop consisted of me trying desperately to work out if my average speed was going to get me in under the cut off. It was really lonely out there, there were very few people still on the course. I limped back into T2 in 04:19:38

After handing my bike to a lovely volunteer and grabbing my run bag I sat down to take stock of everything. I was so pleased that I had made the cut off, but was really worried about the run. My calves were really painful from the cramp in the swim, ditto adductors and my back was really bad. I couldn’t lean forwards to get my shoes on properly, so I had to cross one leg over the other, which kicked off the cramp in my adductors, round and round we went. Out of T2 in 00:04:25

The Run

The bastard friends and family supporters were all screaming and cheering as I left T2, so I had to run and look like I was enjoying myself. Stupid supporters. I made every effort to run properly, but it was a real struggle, I made the first hill out of T2 and to the lap start, and around the first km or so of the course. Then I started on The Hill even Andy, who is much fitter than me said he had to walk that one. I was becoming disheartened seeing lots of people on their last lap as I was 3km into the start of my first one! The pain in my back started to clear up and I started to get into a rhythm, albeit a very slow one. I had read so many race reports about “walking the aid stations” I’ll have no need said I before the race. ha ha. I walked every single one, it was the most wonderful respite from the pain of running. I was trying to keep taking on the gels, but it really was becoming a chore and in the end I gave up, I knew it was not nutrition that was my limiter, but fitness. I then got cramp really bad in my left adductor and I couldn’t figure out how to stretch it out, having been on the go for 6 1/2 hours already, my brain had given up on all cognitive thought apart from surviving to the end and repeating over and over again “Matthew, you are an idiot, why are you doing this to yourself? I told you it was a bad idea and you didn’t listen, never again” Over and over and over. I managed to get rid of it by wedging my foot through a five bar gate and leaning on it, you won’t see that in any text books. The best part of the run was along the Dam, not only was it very pretty, but it was flat, the only bit of flat of the whole course in fact. Back over by the lake I had some wonderful support in the form of the Wife who took it upon herself to run along beside me and keep talking to me which did make the time pass a lot quicker. As I started my 3rd lap it was pretty sparse out there, the few people that were still out on the run were very nice though, having little chats and encouraging each other. For the last little part of the run everyone was down before the turnaround spurring me on. Catheryne came right down to the turnaround with me, I was trying to keep up the running, but the hills just killed me. I tried to “Dig Deep and Finishing Strong” as Stu says to me, but I had dug to the bottom and there was nothing left. The others all ran up to the finish line and Catheryne stayed with me, I got my run back at the top of the hill and ran down to the finish. Coming down the finishing chute was amazing, all the family and everyone were screaming and cheering and I went through the line to collect my medal. It was all a bit emotional after that! run time: 02:44:41 I made up 5 places on the run! I passed 5 whole people! Woop!

Total Time: 08:05:07

Lessons Learned

1. Sight, sight, sight. If I hadn’t swum over distance, then perhaps I wouldn’t have got cramp and my race might have been slightly different. (although I forgot to take my salt tablets with me so who knows?!)
2. Push harder in training, I think I am guilty of not pushing myself hard enough and trying to improve, my average speeds have been fairly consistent for a long time now
3. Lose more weight. The end of the run was all big fellas, I’ve lost a bit, but not enough
4. I’m not ready to step up to IM yet. I need to get my fitness up, weight down and become the best swimmer, cyclist and runner I can be I don’t want to come across the line in 17hrs something, I want to get to that start line knowing I am in the best shape I can possibly be
5. Recovery – got to keep the stretching and rolling as frequent as possible
6. Be more thankful for my Friends and Family – For my Mum, Dad, Claire and Bez, 3 days in a tent in the pissing rain to wait for me, and everyone else, just the one night, but a massive commitment coming all the way down there and the noise they made for me was inspiring. And everyone on the texts and facebook, it’s nice to have that kind of good will and support


I am currently struggling with walking, the nice lady in the massage tent went some way to taking away the pain, but not enough. I am still smiling at what I’ve done, especially from where I started from. I felt a bit embarrassed during the race that I wasn’t as good as everyone else, but I know that was a dumb thought. It doesn’t matter what everyone else was doing, not to me and certainly not to the wonderful friends and family I had down there, I cannot thank Catheryne, Mum, Dad, Claire, Bez, Fox, Karen, Jan, Dave and Rob enough for their support down there, and everyone else for all their texts and messages. It means so much to have people behind me like that. It was certainly a motivator when I was struggling out there on the bike and run. Since Sunday I’ve had a few beers, a couple of glasses of wine, some junk food and I’ve really enjoyed it, but I know I’m not really that person any more, I thought when I got home that I never wanted to see another bike or pair of running shoes, but my memory has started to paint over the cracks of pain and I find myself looking forward to a nice long ride on a Saturday in the sunshine around the Kent countryside, and thinking about running along the pilgrims way in the warm summer air, I’m even thinking about those crisp runs in the winter air where your chest hurts because it’s so cold. I know that I can’t do all these things and do them well with a hangover or carrying around too much extra weight and these are the things that are important to me now. I’m never going to totally give up the beer or curries, but they are a treat rather than something to be done every day. I want to build a healthy, sustainable athletic lifestyle and I think I’m on the right road.


Pre Race Thoughts..

Have I done enough? Have I got everything? Will I make the cut Off?

I think these are probably the same thoughts every Age Grouper goes through before a race, I think because it’s my first big race these feelings are more acute, but perhaps not. I will have to race again to find out!

Have I done enough?

Yes, I have done enough, not as much as I’d have liked, and more than I could have ever hoped for a year ago.There has been a Paradigm Shift in my life from one of sedentary boozing to active training, although this has been a gradual shift over the past 2 years and is ongoing. I still miss training sessions even though I know I shouldn’t, I still drink too much most of the time and don’t eat the right food sometimes, but I can feel the difference mentally. I now have the discipline to remove alcohol from my life before the race and I think this will continue once this particular race is over. I have found out that ‘quick wins’ are not wins at all it is about effort and discipline over time, a change in lifestyle, a sustainable change in lifestyle.

Have I got everything?

As I have left it all quite late to get packed, I hope so, my kit list looks like this:


1 x Garmin – not going to bother with hrm strap as I don’t really use it and I’m going with pace and feel.
1 x Tri Top
1 x 750ml bottle – water
1 x Tri Shorts
1 x Wetsuit
1 x Mirrored Goggles
1 x Pair Ear Plugs


1 x Bike
1 x Shoes
1 x Helmet
2 x 750ml bottles (1 x water 1 x SIS energy drink)
2 x CO2 cannisters + nozzle thingy
2 x innertubes
3 x tyre levers
1 x pair gloves
1 x towel
1 x pair compression socks
1 x race belt
1 x pair arm warmers
1 x Bike Tool
10 x gels (inc 2 caffeinated) – Is this too much? That’s 1 every 20 minutes over a max of 4 hours


1 x pair running shoes
5 x Gels (3 caffeinated)
1 x tin Vaseline
1 x hat


Compression Top
Compression socks

Other Kit:

2 x Conti 4 seasons tires
2 large spare tire levers
Track pump
Massage Stick
Rain Coat (quite thick – altura cycling jacket, hopefully won’t need it, probably won’t wear it unless it’s seriously cold and wet)
Theraband for shins
SIS Energy drink powdet
Spare running top
Spare cycling top
Spare running shorts
Spare towel
Sports nutrition box with extra gels, bars, powders etc..
Garmin Charger
Chain Lube

Things still to buy:

Talcum Powder
Flapjack ingredients

Things still to do:

Make flapjacks

Think that’s it. Russ seems to think it’s pretty comprehensive, although I don’t have a Gilet – more money to spend!

Will I make the cut Off?

Don’t panic on the swim and I’ll be fine
I’ve cycled over 1673km since November 2010, I have put in the work on the hills, I will be fine
Once that’s all over, I’ve got at least 4 hours to run a half marathon. My first half marathon was in 2h22m in October last year, so it shouldn’t cause me too many problems, I hope

Beyond transition

My Coach Russ put the website Beyond Transition in touch with me and I sent them a load of waffle, much like this for their Age Grouper shout out, you can read it here

see you on the other side!


Ironman 70.3 Familiarisation Camp

Ironman Logo

So the plan was to attend an Ironman 70.3 familiarisation camp down at Wimbleball lake this weekend, staying at the lovely Three Acres Country House and doing some eating and drinking with the wife in the sunshine…


Arrived in Brushford on Friday afternoon, quick run, nothing exciting to report..

I set the alarm for 5.30 so I could neck a flapjack and some fruit before I went, because I decided I would bike over there, it was only 5 miles they told me, turned out to be mostly uphill, in fact, the uphill turned out to be the biggest descent of the course, but I did it in reverse first.


I arrived at about 7.20 (20 minutes late) and we headed straight down to the lake. We did some warm up stuff, gettin the blood flowing through the arms and legs which I found really useful and will definitely use. We got in the water and the plan was to swim an out and back of about 200m to a buoy. I started and as soon as I got to the end of the pontoon I had a bit of a panic and had to stop and go back to the remedial swimming group 🙂 We spent the next 20 minutes trying to swim around a buoy between two pontoons about 20m apart. I was fine going there, but as soon as I go there I don’t know what happened, but I ended up with my head out of the water unable to get it back under. The coach who was with us, Duncan, was really helpful and he worked with me to get back to real basics and just complete a lap between the pontoons without having a panic! In the end we got there and I went out to one of the closer buoys (20 / 25m from the pontoon – into the lake) and back again. I just couldn’t go out into the deeper water. Everything I’ve learnt in the pool just went out of the window, I couldn’t keep my head under or breathe properly which meant that technique went right out of the window. The swim is a serious concern for me for race day. I’ve got to do an assessment at the lake in Larkfield before I am allowed to swim there, 2 x 300m which I have booked in for this Saturday.

Was supposed to grab breakfast now, but left cash at home and they didn’t take cards, more nuts and a half a flapjack


After a quick shower we headed out onto the bike course. I ended up in the slowest group of riders, which was absolutely fine as I was probably the strongest in that group which was nice from a confidence point of view. The first 7k or so out of the lake is an uphill drag which is not as bad as I’d thought it might be, the next 20k or so are pretty cool rolling countryside which was absolutely beautiful to ride, then comes the main descent (Which I’d already gone up) and then the first of the 3 real climbs begin. The first of which is a short, sharp climb that takes a couple of minutes to do. The 2nd is not quite as steep, but much longer (I fell off halfway up this one, but managed to restart after dusting myself off) and the last climb is longer than the rest, but not quite so steep and you get a fairly decent descent into it to carry some speed through. I was definitely tough, looking back on it now, I think it will be ok. (Provided I can get through the swim)


Once we returned to the lake we had lunch (another flapjack, an orange and some nuts!) and a briefing with the coaches there for the day. Things I took out of it:

1) I am going to get change my rear cassette for a 12-27 and perhaps put a new wheel on it, just to make the climbs easier. As the race director said, no one is going to give me a bigger medal because I had more difficult gearing.
2) I’m going to use my own gels – I have only briefly tried the powerbar ones and I don’t really get on with them, but I get on well with the High-5 ones and I can just get water from the feed stations
3) New tyres, chain and a service before the race ( will get this done with the cassette / wheel)
4) Will arrive early on race day
5) Can get in the water from 06.35 for a warm up, maybe a bit early, but will definitely want to get warmed up and used to the water.
6) Gradual 2 week taper

There is more, but I’ve forgotten!


The run is not as tough as I was lead to believe, I was pretty stiff and starting to cramp up before we started and the heat was absolutely relentless. It’s a bit of a weird route: it’s not as hilly as I’d feared, but not as flat as I’d hoped, in face, I don’t think there is one flat part of the whole area, it is rolling up and down everywhere. 1 lap completed in 46.07 gives me a half marathon time of 2h23m half marathon time (or thereabouts) At the time, I don’t think I could have completed another lap, well, I didn’t want to, and I knew that I didn’t have to so that may have played a part.


I woke up on the Saturday feeling pretty reasonable, no massive aches or pains (Apart from a few bruises) as I would expet after completing less than half the course. I am thoroughly petrified by the swim, but the rest I think I can handle. As long as I can get out of the water inside the hour and not get a DNF then I can definitely get the bike done in the 4 1/2 hours I’ve got available and I’m certain that I can do a half marathon in the 4 hours remaining, I think I could walk it in that long, obviously I don’t want to do that. The next 6 weeks are going to be absolutely critical. I am packing in the booze after Friday’s BBQ with the hope of being able to drop another 6/7Kgs by race day which should give me a big boost.

Traning this weekend

It’s a long weekend this weekend, so my plan for training currently looks like this…

Friday – Meeting up with Mr Hannigan for a bike at 8am – probably 3/4hrs
Saturday – Swim assessment at 11am and some more practice after that, followed by a long run (2hrs) – I really need the confidence of knowing I can run a decent half marathon, I’m worried about the distance a bit and I know I can run a sensible hilly half marathon in around 2hrs (standalone) I want to get that feeling in my legs to know that I can push through.
Sunday – Cycle to the coast – 6/7hrs total cycling, but leisurely for the most part, nice day out, but perhaps junk miles?
Monday – OW swimming again – as much of this as possible!

I have referred this to the coach for his nod of approval. I am concious that there is a lot to do and only really 6 weeks left to do it in, but I am equally concious of overcooking it and falling apart on race day.

53 days 15 hours until race day.



New Forest training / holiday

An excellent, but slightly disappointing week down in the New Forest. I didn’t quite get to where I wanted to be with regards distance, because I picked up a little injury that I think is ok now. I started getting a pain above my right knee on the bike on Tuesday, that seemed to get fixed with the roller, it came back a bit on Wednesday and then quite a bit running on Thursday so I cut it there. Still, 29.7kms of running and 195kms on the bike over the course of a week is high volume for me and I really enjoyed it. (The BBQ’s and beer afterwards may have also had something to do with it!) No swimming as the rivers and lakes were a little bit shallow.

So here’s the rundown:

Saturday 9th April:

A short run with the girls through the forest:

Sunday 10th April:

An 80k bike out in the sunshine. Perfect weather, followed by a run, which hurt, lots…

Monday 11th April:

A 10k run through the forest, peppered with a few little stop starts to let the children catch up. Managed in JUST under an hour..

Tuesday 12th April:

A 70k bike through the forest, some wonderful scenery and rode part of the Forestman Iron Distance bike leg. There was supposed to be a hill called red shoot, but I couldn’t find it.

Wednesday 13th April:

Some serious wind on this ride, coming out of forest across wide open countryside was not a huge amount of fun, but good experience….

Thursday 14th April:

A run from our house over to Beaulieu house. Had to stop when we got to Beaulieu as my knee was hurting quite a bit, but with the increase in volume throughout the week I’m not really surprised. A beautiful run through the forest on trails and mud and grass.

Finished with figures of 195.74kms on the bike, 29.7kms running, a total of 11hrs49m training done across the week.

Came back on Friday and had that as a rest, did a straight 1000m at the pool on Saturday, which I thought was 2000m because I can’t count. It was only after I got home and was thinking how easy it was that I realised that 20 x 50m = 1000. D’oh! Didn’t do anything on Sunday as I think the effects of the week were catching up with me so I went and watched the marathon and had some beer in the sunshine.

I am packing in booze from the 29th April until race day, (Excepting 1 weekend) I need to drop a lot more weight and it seems the easiest way to do it, I’m mentally preparing myself for it so it should go ok. I am going on a stag do on the 28th May, which I will definitely be having a couple of beers. Then nothing until early afternoon (hopefully) on June 19th.


Run Analysis and Coaching with Kinetic Revolution

Running has never been a strong point of mine, I was getting serious lower leg pain last year – shin splints if you like – which really cut down the volume of running I could do. On Russell’s instruction I started back out slowly, I made a concious effort to try and land more mid-foot as I was sure that the leg pain was being exacerbated if not caused by my heel strike and by the time Wimbleball came I was feeling pretty good. A few aches and pains still, but nothing that kept me from running, but no matter how long I spend running I never seem to get any better at it. Russ put me in touch with James Dunne at Kinetic Revolution and a few weeks ago I went down for a video assesment of my running style. First we discussed my history of running (brief), my injuries running (quite a few) and my plans for next season (ambitious) We got out onto the track at the Battersea Millenium Arena and after a 400m warm up he got me to do 4 laps around the track, the first at a reasonably slow pace, 2 faster in the middle and then drop it down again for the final lap. This was to see how my motion changes under different stresses and fatigue:

The main things to come out of it were:

• Slight heel strike, I’ve moved further up towards midfoot, but there’s still a slight heel strike, however my foot is pretty much under my body so not a massive problem
• Pronation is fine – it is nowhere near a level that needs to be looked at
• Drag my trailing leg using my hip flexors and quads rather than engaging my hamstrings and glutes.
• I am slightly bent forward at the hips, meaning that I have to push off to move forwards whereas I should be more upright and using gravity – although this doesn’t happen at pace – I use my hamstrings and glutes a lot more at speed.
• By using my hamstrings and glutes more I can have a more cyclical fluid motion rather than the slight stop / start at the moment.
• Too much twist in my upper body – which is odd really, flat in the water and massive rotation on the track!

So, I went away for a week and came back for my first coaching session. With a few tweaks James totally changed the way I run, here’s a comparison at the end of my first coached session: (00:00 – 00:09 “old style” 00:10 – 00:18 “new style”

You can see the difference in the run and this is from actively picking the heel up and using the hamstrings and glutes rather than hip flexors and quads. It feels much better, more free and light (although only for short periods at the moment, it is really painful on the calves!)

There is quite a lot of work still to be done, I am back to run one minute, walk one minute at the moment to try and build up the technique, and I’ve decided to pull out of the Maidstone half marathon this year to concentrate on getting it right as I hope to be much less injured and far more efficient at running, after all, more efficiency means better results for the same amount of effort!


Life has its little ups and downs…

Life seems to be getting in the way a bit at the moment, the consistency that I was after, that I need to do well at this has been lacking this week. We’ve been out searching for flats most evenings last week and all weekend so training has been at a minimum. Good news is that we have a flat that we’re moving to in 3 weeks – not quite where I’d planned, we’re moving to Brockley in SE London, which gives me access to the countryside a bit more, but not as much as Kent would have, so I will have to make do – it won’t be any worse than East London for sure.

Training is here.. apart from a run on Saturday that I haven’t uploaded. Nothing got done on the right day last week because of all the flat hunting.

I have really taken my eye off the diet ball too, which is really frustrating. It is something that I’ve done time and time again, but still never learn. I am losing weight at a good rate, so I become less observant on what I’m putting in and next thing I know, the weight starts going in the other direction!

I have gone back to calorie counting, I was hoping to get away without it, because it’s really boring, but I think it’s the only way, just counting booze or what I’m eating doesn’t give me the information, and therefore the controls I need to lose weight. Being confronted by EXACTLY what I am putting in my body means I can hopefully make better choices and get on top of this. I am still on target for ~73kgs by race day, but I need to focus my energies on this.

With my calorie counting, I use a site called they are very good because they are british and they have lots of products and the correct measurements rather than oz and quarts and what have you. There is an option to add in exercise calories, and I was a little undecided on whether to add them in or not. I have a daily quota of 2113 calories in order to lose weight. A run and a turbo session yesterday burned ( According to my garmin, not the sutomatic calculations on the wlr site) a total of 577 calories. My initial thoughts were to ignore them, but a little research made me reconsider. There is a danger of the body going into starvation mode if the calories in vs calories out are very different for a prolonged period, which is quite possible with the volume of training I have to do. So in they go, and after a double training day I’m really glad of them!

My watchword is consistency from now on, consistent training, consistent healthy eating, consistent rest – no late boozy nights! There’s nothing better than stepping on the scales and seeing another kg come off, or the feeling of finishing a swim, bike or run, but I need to keep it up permanently, not keep fading in and out.

Anyhow, enough moaning! I am going to aim to complete 100% of sessions until the end of the month and keep my calorific intake to the correct levels.