What time do you call this eh?

Good afternoon everyone. The only thing running slower than me at the moment is my ancient laptop (ten years is surely supervet in Mac terms) and it's been a busy few weeks with other stuff I shan't bore you with, so apologies for lack of posts recently.  Actually, I nearly followed that by writing "Anyway, it's not ME you want to hear from, is it?" but as I wrote it, a voice in my head narrated it in my granny's most martyred voice - so you all feel free to roll your eyes in your best impressions of bored teenagers.

Right, where was I? Oh yes, how have you all been? I've been trying to get back into the swing of more 'normal' structured training now that I'm finally started to feel better after Boston/London - which took a fair old while. I'm always so envious of those folks who rock out a marathon PB, have a little down time, and then go straight back and blitz a parkrun PB mere weeks later. I mean, it's just possible that my post-marathon regime of rhubarb crumble and Montezuma's giant chocolate buttons (thank me later) may account for some of my sluggishness. But only a tiny bit, right? The rest is all those 26.2 x 2 in 2 weeks. Anyone else seem to take an age to feel bouncy again, or is it just me?

Anyway, really I wrote this by way of an intro, because really I just wanted to get to our very own Breezehillpete and his race report from the triathlon this weekend just gone. Because frankly it's far better and more impressive than anything I've done (unless you count my really very good, though I say so myself, rhubarb crumble..)

So over to him (this is copied, by the way, from our Facebook group so do go and join that if you aren't already) 

You’ll all know that from the beginning of the year I’ve been very organised with the training for the half distance triathlon, but given that I’m now a man of leisure, it was for the most part, very enjoyable. It was only great the end did it start to feel like a job.

A week before the triathlon the taper started and it was then that my anxiety shot through the roof. Don’t get me wrong, I was constantly anxious beforehand but low grade to what happened preceding the race. Tuesday was probably the worst day and I actually thought I was going to lose it completely! Anyway, I didn't, probably due to baking lots of bread and deciding I needed to sort myself out. By Friday when we travelled over to Nottingham I was just starting to realise I could enjoy the race. We set up camp with Helen and Andy, just across the road from the National watersport centre and were joined in the evening by daughter Jennie and her family. The following afternoon (wife)Lynn’s sister and her husband, Sarah and Ray arrived, so I had a full support crew! It would be true to say that I was frequently in a different zone to everyone else, but they’re pretty much used to that anyway. We walked around were the tri was being set up a few times on Friday and Saturday, which made me feel very relaxed and settled.  

Then, Sunday, I was up at 4am after a good sleep, had breakfast, made sure my bowels were functioning properly, then took my gear over to the transition zone at 5am to set up. I chatted to quite a few people, cracking jokes and getting a bit of banter going, then back to the campervan for another cup of tea and a decision on what to were for the bike leg as it wasn’t very warm at 7.45am. My start time was 7am in the final wave, so I went back over, wetsuit on, had a gel and then it was in to the water to acclimatise. As the hotter went, I pressed my watch so that I could know what the overall time I was out would be. Unlike other swims this one didn’t have the bumping and boring at the beginning, which can be unsettling. So I settled into a very comfortable rhythm that I maintained throughout and did it in about the time I had wanted. I found myself really enjoying the swim and I was just focusing on keeping notice and steady. Coming to the end of the swim there are lots of helpers to support you when you stand up after being in a horizontal position for that amount of time. However, as I stood up, both left hamstring and calf suddenly cramped. It meant that I hobbled into transition trying to stretch my leg. It took some time to get the wetsuit off my left leg and the get ready for the bike part, but it happened.

The bike leg was when I realised that things were going very well. I had planned on an average speed of about 17-17.3 mph, but somehow I ended up finishing with 18.3mph, that’s knocking off about 10-11 minutes off what I would have expected and probably putting me into the danger zone for the run. However, the bike felt stupidly easy and my calculations started telling me that I stood a chance of being sub 6 hours, and I would have been on cloud 9 if that had happened. So I decided to push on and not hold back. I was very clear that it was going to be an all or nothing strategy, but my head felt that it was the right thing to do. I’d been doing my longer brick session runs at 8.45 per mile and my legs were used to it, though not at the bike speed I was currently doing. A 2 hour half marathon would get me that sub 6 so I was feeling pretty confident. Just to say, the bike leg was excellent because I’d ridden the courses with my brother three weeks earlier and I knew where I could pick and when I needed to hold back.

I got back into transition and went to the toilet quickly, giving my legs a chance to calm down, though my quads were a little painful. Then it was out into the run. Deep down, this was always going to be the party of the race that would make or break my target time(s). At first my quads complained very, very loudly but I kept my pace at 8.45-8.55 and after a few miles things began to settle as they always do in triathlons. What I hadn’t prepared for was that the soles of my feet were burning and were causing me a lot of discomfort. It was made worse by the changes in surface I was running on, going from tarmac to gravel/shale to grass and back. It was much worse on the gravel/shale and was compounded by running in very narrow tracks alongside the River Trent with runners going in both directions. This meant you were frequently not running at your preferred pace and having to slow down or speed up as the path could be crowded. On the second of two laps I was going past my family whom were cheering and shouting encouraging words when I moved from gravel to grass under foot and suddenly my right hamstring cramped quite violently. I had to stop immediately and stretch it out before restarting. 

However, from that point on, after 7 miles, my legs kept on cramping if I tried to run the pace I needed for sub 6, so I decided that a run/walk strategy would help for a while. In the end I could see the handful of minutes I had in reserve slowly disappear after each time I had to stop. So I just decided that I hadn’t trained for 20 weeks to have my day ruined by not hitting an arbitrary time and that I was going to enjoy finishing no matter what. It also didn’t help that in the last hour it got very warm, making the final efforts more difficult. But with some excitement, the finish line loomed and I picked up Ethan and Elliot closer to the finish and we crossed the line together. My first thoughts were, “I’ve done it!” and was totally elated. It later transpired that my finishing time we 06.06.06, you couldn’t make that up. I was tired, sore and elated for the rest of the day, but today I’ve started to feel the effects of the efforts I’ve made. My body feels like a train wreck this evening, I’ve got sore throat and a nagging cough. Clearly, I need to rest for a while. That’s a shame because we are in North Norfolk for 5 days! 

Would I do another? Yes! Have I learned anything positive from doing it? Yes! Has it inspired other people to have a go at triathlons? Yes! Were there any bad points to my race? None!Pete

(Anyone else suddenly feel the urge to enter a triathlon?) 


  1. Extraordinary stuff from Pete! A thrilling culmination to a really hard training cycle...

    Training seems to be picking up again for me. A good massage last week on the hamstring and a bit of rest and I managed what my various devices tells me was my hardest intensity training session for a good long while. “Only” 4’ 10k pace/1’ 5k pace with 2’ recovery (x7) but I’ve reset those target paces around this seasons ambition, which is much higher than before. So fingers crossed for the summer.

  2. Fabulous effort from Pete. If I'd tried that I'd have ended up in hospital on a drip.
    I went to watch the Hackney Half this weekend. Went to the finish line to see the winners all bright and bushy and looking as if they'd been on a stroll to the pub for Sunday lunch. Then walked to Stratford and watched the normal people trying it en route. This was more like it: puce, knackered, weaving, walking... These were my people.
    I am currently up to 17k in my efforts to go further, not very fast. I will be forking out for my osteopath visit on Friday as a result: sore feet, sore ankle, misaligned hips and a grumpy toe. Trouble is, I bloody love running.......

    1. Love that description of your aches and pains - and it sounds all too familiar! But you're missing the knees?

  3. A brilliant race report Pete and hugely impressive achievement. Your commitment to the training required for this and the way that you've dealt with all of the challenges that accompanied it, has been genuinely inspiring. Looking forward to following the next one. ;-)

    I've been getting some help to see if I can run faster. It hasn't (quite) killed me yet, but it's early days.

    1. We haven’t even got out of first gear yet...

  4. Great report from Pete - and what commitment to the training needed. I like cycling but hate bikes (too technical and too many things that can go wrong with them) and love swimming but have no proper technique and dislike swimming pools (give me the sea or a river anytime) so I don't think I'm ever going to attempt a triathlon. I take my hat off to anyone who can train in all three disciplines to become good enough to smash the task. So really well done to Pete!

    I ran a decent (and hilly) 11 miles on Sunday and got home to find I'd locked myself out. Not my cleverest move.

    Then overnight on business in Dundee, so my early morning run yesterday was over the Tay Bridge and back. Most enjoyable!

  5. Great race by Pete.
    I went one less and did a duathlon, but an all bike duathlon.
    Aviemore100 is a 70km road bike loop then 2x15km mountain bike loops. Not done any bike training, just got out a few times for very easy efforts on the road bike.
    Was going to go steady, but it was horrible weather, raining and 6deg, so I had to put a bit of a push in to try and keep warm.
    Felt ok (but cold) and just maintained that effort for the road loop. Switching to MTB meant changing shoes - not easy with cold feet, hands and long gloves. I thought it might be warmer on the MTB loops, sheltered in the trees, lower speed so less wind chill. But it wasn’t and the first loop was really energy sapping. Took a tactical stop near the start on the second loop to wolf down a bar - harder to eat on the go on the MTB. The second loop felt lots better. I still ran the main technical downhill section, didn’t trust my brain to be on the ball enough.
    4:51 in total, a long time to be out in the cold and wet. Absolutely filthy, awesome that you got a ticket for a hot meal at the end.
    And i’m claiming 7th place (out of 30). Officially listed in 9th but it’s pretty clear 2 people about me only did one MTB loop!
    Not bad for no training. Run to bike fitness travels mich better than bike to run.

  6. Hello all, and thank you Kate for your commitment to the blog. I was fearful it was going to slide away. There are so many social media platforms telling me all sorts of rubbish but this is about the only one I want to hear from people on. I'm not on Facebook so Pete's exploits have been eagerly awaited on here. Strava told me some things but the full report is excellent and the achievement amazing. Congratulations BHP.

    In Grumpy-land, Mrs GJ is now a regular runner and out 3 times a week. On Saturday we both went out together with me planning a long run and her a shorter one so we headed out before she turned left for home after about 3k and I turned right and into the countryside with the aim of incorporating some of the upcoming Colshaw Hall 10k into my run. It was one of those days where I got into a lovely rhythm and just kept going, although I did have a brief stop after seeing a friend who gave me a drink of water at the cricket club he was working at. In the end I got back home having managed a half marathon, my longest run since the Neil/Anglesey HM.

    This weekend brings a change of scene as I am walking the St Bega's way, a 36 mile walk from St Bees to Bassenthwaite in the North West Lake District. I'll probably witter on about that next week. Happy running, everyone and Pete, have a rest for f*ck's sake!!

    1. A 36 mile walk will take a very long time on your feet, I think I would rather run it! Best of luck with that GJ, is it a charity event?

    2. Hi KYD, it's a family potter over 3 days staying in a B&B and Youth Hostel to celebrate a couple of birthdays. Not only 26 miles but 6,000 feet of ascent that I am sure my 77 year old mum will love. It's the kind of thing Mark Roulston does before his Frosties.

    3. Ah, a staged event! still sounds quite taxing although quite lovely when you mention family and potter!

    4. I'm more of a Coco-Pops man, GJ! Enjoy your weekend and looking forward to seeing it on Strava.

  7. Amazing achievement Pete, we were all with you on your journey so it's fitting to hear you wrap it all up so eloquently .. we can all take a virtual breath now! Massive kudos for training for and competing in an event that lasts 6+ hours, I can't imagine doing that. Respectamundo, as the Fonz would have said ; )

  8. Congrats to Pete, thoroughly enjoyed following the culmination of so much hard work on strava.

    I’m in an in between place in running at the moment. Post marathon, pre first ultra (RTTK in June). So just concentrating on enjoying pace-free (?) miles on the roads/trails.

    I did the Manchester HM on Sunday with the aim of doing it as a training run as I haven’t done any speed work since pre MCR marathon. Great event and highly recommend to others. Managed a 1:40 and surprisingly felt ok at 7:30 ish pace which gave me a little boost.

    The sunny weather is helping my running mojo muchly (?) at the moment. Happy running all.

    1. Sounds great R&B, that happy running place : ) Good luck in your Ultra!

  9. Wonderful stuff Pete. Cracking race and lovely report. I'd say it almost tempts me to try a triathlon but that just wouldn't be true!

    Thanks for the blog, Kate, better late than never.

    I've done bugger all as a second week of recovery following the Big25, looking forward to slowly restarting from Monday.

  10. It was great to read Pete's race report, congratulations on a great performance Pete. Hope the recovery is going down well :-)

    My weekend's running revolved around my club's 10k race. I ran in the #1 bib, feeling some pressure to run fast. I charged off at the start with the aim to run hard. I'd learnt on Tuesday that my pacing ability for short distances had vanished with the marathon training. Anyway I ran to feel, no beeps from my watch as it was still on manual lap from the marathon. The second half was grim, but I held position through to the finish with a small PB, a 5s improvement to 34:57, 8th overall and 2nd V40. Strava suggests a 43s positive split. I had three targets for the year: sub-2:35, sub-75 and sub-35 which have now been achieved. Need to work up some short-term goals. The medium/long term goals are based around the marathon, so I'll probably figure out some goals at shorter distances that feed into the marathon goals.

    1. Congratulations and very well done on achieving your 2019 goals DavID!

  11. Brilliant stuff, Pete! All that work and dedication paid off. I bet you didn't even mind crossing the finishing line with someone in a Liverpool shirt!

    Last week's running was really restricted to Friday when I did a 56-km out-and-back along the Ridgeway. The second 28-km was significantly faster than the first, which I put down to my mid-way snack of mashed sweet potato and Parmesan cheese (homemade). I did go out on Saturday morning to do an easy 13 km on tired and hungover legs. My birthday celebrations had started the night before and continued all weekend with a night away without kids in London. It wasn't without the wife, though.

  12. Great write up Pete! Well done, I really enjoyed reading that :)

    Last week, I passed 500 days of running every day, minimum of 2k, average of just over 6k. I celebrated with my favourite kind of run: the lunch time chatty half-marathon distance with my long-time running friend. He's started his own running streak this year, so I need to keep going else he'll catch me up!

    At the moment, I'm trying to learn how to enjoy running on my own - I realised that I can enjoy running with other people, and frequently do, but when I'm running alone and not doing a specific workout, I don't tend to enjoy it. So right now, if I'm running alone and don't have a specific goal for they run, I'm working on ignoring the watch and enjoying the run for it's own sake. It's a work in progress, but I'm starting to feel the difference in mental attitude already. We'll see how it goes!


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