Arrochar 10K (Iain)

In the six weeks since Norseman I’ve done relatively little training. The break has been good, as my body/mind were pretty fatigued, but all good things must come to an end. Last weekend, I was back running by taking part in the Arrochar 10K.

Andrew was supposed to do it but he dropped out due to his injury that was too minor for the minor injury unit (see https://twinbikerun.com/2018/09/11/runner-heal-thyself-andrew/) so I swapped him for my wife which I would refer to it as wife swap if that didn’t have an entirely different meaning!

Nic is just getting back into running after an injury. A proper injury! Not like the one’s Andrew gets. Even a sore toe will see him head to the nearest priest to get the last rites read to him.

Nic is the least competitive runner known to man (or woman.) I know this because she always tells me “I’m not competitive in any way”

Which was true until near the end of the race and she saw a women in front of her and turned to me and said

“We can beat her”

“I thought you weren’t competivie. We can just….”

“Stop yapping and get running!”

That was me told. Definitely not competitive…..

The race was fun. Its mostly off-road with a short section on the road at the end. We both ambled round at a slow steady pace. Happy to just enjoy it rather than race it….except for that one woman.

Afterwards we went to The Perch Cafe in Garelochhead. It was a great find as they did a very tasty lunch although the reading material was a bit niche unless you like Ducks.

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The Naked Triathlete (Andrew)

How much breast is too much breast? A couple of years ago that was the question facing Glasgow Sheriff Court when it was asked to decide whether a flyer for a strip club banned by the licensing board was obscene.

Glasgow City Council’s licensing board presumably didn’t mean to criticise the flyer for strip club, showing a dancer wearing a pair of yellow pants and just an arm covering her breasts, as depicting the woman as “unsuitably clothed” because that could only mean she was wearing too much. What else would would be suitable clothes for a stripper except a birthday suit?  But that comment by the board meant a trip to the sheriff court to work out how much – or how little – was too little clothes for a flyer for a strip club.

This led to an interesting discussion as Sheriff Taylor said: “Only a very small part of the side of her breast is depicted in the photograph. There is certainly more breast exposed in certain daily tabloid newspapers.”

And, he added: “If one looks at adverts for perfumes and the like in magazines normally read by women, one sees more breasts exposed than in the flyer.”

In short, he said: “I can see nothing wrong in the degree of breast exposed”

And he was really looking.

I remember this debate when I was thinking about how we take stripping in public as natural. Go to any transition and you’ll see a bunch of athletes pulling off wetsuits, bearing their chests and, generally, mooning friends and family watching on from the side.

It’s like Stringfellows but with less fake tan and gold jewellery (and that was just Peter Stringfellow).

I swear one time I was in transition a man tried to stick a tenner in my pants!

Yet, we accept this as normal. Even though it’s not. And it’s Scotland and we look like we’re starring a XXX version of Avatar as the blue people strip in the open air.

But then again. Maybe it is normal. Maybe the strange thing is to feel self-conscious about it all. Why not strip in the open air? Why not let it swing free and stand there bold and proud with nothing to protect you but a well positioned bike stem? We shouldn’t be ashamed! We should be free! There’s nothing wrong with letting it all hang out!

And hopefully, the Sheriff Court will agree with me after the police arrest me…

Are Twins Psychic? (Iain)

The book “The Encyclopedia of Superstitions” says:

“It is a very common belief that twins, especially identical twins, are united by a strong bond of sympathy that each knows when danger or misfortune threatens the other, even when they are separated.”

A few years ago, I did an experiment so see whether this statement was true – would I feel anything if Andrew was in pain or in danger?

We did it in a very scientific way – we formed a comedy double act. Like a teuchter Ant and Dec but with no comedy timing, jokes or ability. We  were so bad the only shows we could have hosted would’ve been Britain’s Got No Talent, or I’m Not a Celeb Leave Me Right Here.

I admit now that this was not the best idea we’ve ever had. But I did have a genius idea for a joke. An idea that couldn’t fail – we’d do an experiment on stage where I’d get an audience member to hit Andrew with a rolled up newspaper whilst I looked away. As Andrew screamed from the hits I’d try to guess where he’d been struck! It would be comedy slapstick gold…It wasn’t.

To test the idea out we went to a poetry night that allowed a bit of comedy because I reasonably thought nothing bad can happen at a poetry night….

When it came to our turn, we stood up and told a few gentle gags to get the audience warmed up. The audience laughed and applauded but as they’d just spent 90 minutes listening to poetry I think they would have applauded anything that wasn’t more poetry!

I stepped forward and asked for a volunteer from the audience. No one volunteered so I looked around the room and saw a man sitting by himself. He looked harmless enough. This was mistake number one – a man by himself at a poetry night must be a solid gold rocket of the highest order!

I invited him on stage and realized he was bigger than I thought. He was built like a rugby player. He was also a bit drunk. No worries – I’ll just continue the show. I handed him the newspaper and asked him to roll it up. This was mistake number 2 – never hand a man a weapon and ask him to load it himself. He rolled it very tight. So tight it was now stronger than a wooden baton.

I looked at Andrew. I could see fear in his eyes. I looked at the audience member. I could see violence in his eyes. I did what any loving brother would do. I turned to the man and said “I’m going to look away. Hit my brother as hard and wherever you like!”

This was mistake number 3 – I shouldn’t have turned my back on the scene of the crime.

I shouted “Hit him”.

There was silence and then a large THWACKKKK sound before more silence….like the silence you get after after nuclear bomb has detonated but the blast hasn’t reached you yet. Then the audience gasped….Andrew screamed. He’d been hit so hard in the balls he was now my twin sister rather than brother.

If I was psychic I should have felt something. I felt nothing! The audience member hit Andrew again. THWACKKKK….SCREAM…THWACKKKKK, THWACKKK….SCREAM! Each time he was hit I felt nothing.

As Andrew lay on the floor writhing in pain. His crown jewels having been pulverized. I asked myself “Are twins psychic?” The answer is No! I also asked are twins funny. The answer was still no.

Footnote: You would have thought Andrew would never agree to do this ever again but a few weeks later we did it in Manchester. I’ve found the footage and I put it here for all to see. I’ve never watched it but I don’t think Andrew is seriously hurt this time. Although afterwards we split up over creative differences. He wanted to go down a less violent comedy route!

Runner, Heal Thyself (Andrew)

When I started running at university I would run on a treadmill for 20 – 30 minutes on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Over a year it became part of my weekly routine as I was studying for my final exams. Then, one day, my knee hurt.

“That’s nothing,” I thought. “A wee run will fix that!”

I’d pop up to the university gym and, after five minutes, the pain would start to fade, and, after 20 minutes, it would be gone.

“See,” I thought, “it was just a wee niggle!”

And by the time I’d have my shower, my leg would fall off.

Not literally. I’d topple. But it might as well have as I couldn’t use it for the rest of the day. It wouldn’t bend. I couldn’t put weight on it. I would hop from gym to library to home until…

I’d wake up in the morning, my knee would hurt and I’d think:

“Really, it’s nothing, a wee run will fix this!”

And I was a cripple for a month until I realised that a ‘wee run’ will only fix this if your problem is an escaped lion and you need to get away fast. If your problem is a damaged ligament then don’t run on it!

You need to follow the RIC (Rest, Ice and Compression) program not the RIC (Run, Ignore, Crawl To Bed) program.

Yet, 20 years later I’ve learnt nothing. Last week I pulled a muscle in my abdomen. Not sure how, think it was twisting to lift something while sitting in my chair at work, however, when I noticed it was sore I thought immediately:

“It’s nothing, a wee swim will fix this!”

And I went swimming. An exercise that requires you to continuously twist and turn.

Because there’s nothing like putting out a fire like pouring more oil on it and shouting “Burn, baby, burn!”

It was stupid.

And on Tuesday I ended up in the minor injuries clinic complaining that I couldn’t turn my body to the right or pick up any weight with my right hand.

Which was also stupid because, despite being a clinic for minor injuries, the doctor listened to my story and immediately said: “We don’t do abdomens.”

Which made me think: “What do you do? Left ankles only. Just the right elbow? How can you distinguish between different parts of the body? You’re a doctor, your meant to do everything.”

He sent me to my GP who’s sole advice was “If it hurts when you twist to the right then don’t twist to the right!”

Genius.

But she was right because she was just telling me what I already knew – if you’re injured, then don’t do twice as much as you did before in the hope that more means less. Rest. Ice. Compression. And don’t go for a run.

Lets talk about fun (Iain)

Did you have a type 1 fun weekend? Or maybe it was type 2? Hopefully it wasn’t type 3!

I thoughtthe only thing that comes in types 1,2 or 3 is diabetes. That is until I read Mark Beaumont’s new book about his 80 day around the world cycle trip. In it he says the number one quality he requires in a support person is that they enjoy type 2 fun.

Fun can be categorised! Although categorising fun does seem to remove the fun from fun.

Type 1 Fun

This is fun that you experience whilst doing an activity and once you’ve finished it you still think of it as fun. For example, a post race pint of beer is fun. You’ll have fun drinking it and you’ll never regret it afterwards.

Type 2 Fun

This is fun that doesn’t feel like fun whilst you are doing it but afterwards you’ll be glad you did it. For example, if you don’t go for a pint before a race you might miss out on fun but when you wake up fresh the next day you’ll be glad you didn’t.

Type 3 Fun

This is fun that is miserable whilst you do it and afterwards you’ll wish you hadn’t done it. This is when you do go for a pint before a race and then have another and another…the next day you race with a hangover. You’ll hate it whilst doing it and afterwards you’ll wish you hadn’t done it.

The interesting thing about type 3 fun is that over time it can become type 2 because you might forget how miserable you felt and might actually be glad you did the race.

Most fun experts seem to stop at 3 types. I’d argue there is a fourth type

Type 4 Fun

Fun that is fun at the time but afterwards you’ll completely regret it. Which sums up any time I’ve been to Krispy Kreme.

Mmm….donut!

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Cocaine For The Nose (Andrew)

Sinex nasal spray is cocaine for the nose. Which means it’s just like cocaine in that it goes up your nose but, unlike cocaine, it’s good for you!

Not that I’ve ever had cocaine. But I watched Scarface and I know how it works. First, you get a pound of cocaine then you sniff it up your nose before gunning down a Mexican cartel and half the Miami police force.

Now, you can call me a square, but I don’t want to gun down no cartels, thank you very much. So, I’ve never touched the cocaine! Or the heroin! That’s worse – no sooner have you had some then you have to live in Edinburgh!

But Sinex. That’s cocaine for athletes (unless you’re British tennis player, Dan Evans, then cocaine is cocaine for athletes). One minute you’ve got a bit of cold. Maybe a blocked nose. Next thing you know, two squirts of Sinex up each nostril and you’re ready to take on the world.

I say two squirts but, I am legally required to say that you should only use one squirt. I use two because I have a big nose and have more snot to clear. Ordinary folk are medically recommended to only have one squirt.

Don’t abuse the Sinex, kids!

It’s great stuff and one I’ve had to use all last week after developing a bit of a cold on Tuesday. I say a bit of a cold but what I actually mean is… I WAS DYING!!!!!

And then it cleared up after a couple of days, so, false alarm, but you can’t be too careful when it comes to your health. And the NHS is free. So always go and see your doctor, even if you’ve recovered because, who knows, it might come back?!

(Don’t abuse the NHS, kids, unless you’re Jeremy Hunt then, stop abusing the NHS, Mr Hunt even though you’re now Foreign Secretary!)

Anyways, I had a cold this week. It was serious. I had a sniffle. And a cough. St Peter was ready to welcome me to Heaven but, don’t worry, I’m okay now.

And it was all thanks to Sinex. God bless, Sinex!

Norseman Training Plan (Iain)

This is my last post about Norseman. Normal blogs about any old nonsense will resume next week! Although reading Andrew’s latest post he seems to have started a week early. NOTE: He is wrong – Ryan Gosling is great. La La Land, Crazy Stupid Love and Bladerunner 2049 are all superb!

This is not the most interesting blog I’ve ever written but I thought I’d write it as it is something I looked for when I got my Norseman place – a Norseman training plan.

My aim was to complete not compete. I split my training into into two distinct parts

Part 1: Get fit (Jan 1st until 12 weeks to go) 

My base swim fitness was poor as I barely swam in the three months previous to January but but my swimming technique is good. I was confident I would quickly get my stamina back and that I wouldn’t need to work much on technique.

My base bike fitness was good for short rides. I was commuting to work by bike four days a week (15 miles per day) and I would occasionally ride 30/40 miles at a weekend.

My base run fitness was ok for short races. I could run 10k in 45 minutes and I’d run two or three times a week at lunchtimes.

For each discipline I created a schedule but deliberately didn’t put days against any session. I prefer to fit training into my week rather than fit my week into training. I also took the view that if I missed a session, I wouldn’t try and catch-up. I’d just continue as if I had done it. That way I wasn’t putting pressure on myself if plans went awry.

Running Schedule (per week)

1 x hill run – 4 miles comprising 3 laps of a hill.

1 x tempo run – 4 miles where I pushed myself to run above my normal pace

1 x recovery run – 4 miles easy pace on flat route

1 x long run – anything up to half marathon distance at an easy pace.

I commute to work by bike which meant I could do most of my bike training to or from work. My plan was to stick to my normal biking but to increase my mileage each month. As the weather was not great this winter/spring I added in some turbo sessions with a similar steady increase in time rather than distance.

Bike Schedule

In January I did 60 miles a week, in February I did 80, in March 100 etc

I stopped increasing it when I got to 120 miles as that was about as far as I could go with the free time I had available.

On the turbo in January I did one 45 minute sessions a week, in February I did an hour and  then in March I hour 30 minutes etc.

I stopped increasing the length when I got to two hours as any longer than that on a turbo was incredibly boring.

Swimming didn’t really happen. I had a plan to swim twice a week but didn’t do it. Instead my sechedule became

Swim Schedule

In April I started going to my triathlon club’s swimming session. This ws a 2K-ish weekly swim. I went most weeks until Norseman.

Part 2: Get Norseman fit

Part 1 got me fit enough to do part 2 which was to take my now increased base fitness and attempt to do longer rides/runs.

I based it on starting 12 weeks out from Norseman. I listed the one key thing I had to do each week in each discipline. I’d normally manage to run and bike outside of this BUT the priority was to do these. By only having thee key points I was able to fit them into my week. I also preferred time over distance as distance can be a cheat. A hilly 100 miler is different to flat 100 miler but five hours in the saddle is always five hours in the saddle.

Week Run Bike Swim
1 2hr run 5 hour 2k swim
2 2.5hr run 5 hour 2k swim
3 half marathon 2k swim
4 10K + half marathon 5 hour 2k swim
5 10k 5 hour 2k swim
6 2.5hr run 5 hour 2k swim
7 Easy week
8 HALF IRON MAN
9 Recovery week
10 2.5hr run 5 hour 2k swim
11 2.5hr run 5 hour 2k swim
12 1 hr 3 hour 2k swim
13 RACE

Final Result

I was 172nd in the swim with a time of 1 hr 21 min
I was 209th on the bike with a time of 8 hr 1 min
I was 41st/58th run (white tshirt) with a time of 6hr 13 min

SO I comfortably made the white shirt times and cutoff. I also felt fine all the way round. I wasn’t quick but I was steady.

Looking back at my plan I couldn’t have done much more based on the time I had available and the desire to still have a life outside of training.

The downside of my plan – I had low level anxiety for weeks leading up-to the race. Every day I’d wake up thinking what do I need to do today to get through the race? If I was to do it again I wouldn’t have that anxiety because I’d trust in my plan. I could have avoided this by having a coach but I hate being told what to do. A coach would have made me more anxious!

If you fancy giving it a go hopefully this post and the one about logistics will give you a good idea about how to do it.

The Patron Saint Of Uselessness (Andrew)

Every Jean Claude Van Damme film explains why he has a funny accent. He’s French. He’s Belgium. He was raised in the bayou by wolves. It’s the same for Ryan Gosling – except in every film they explain why he can’t act. Let’s look at the evidence…

  • Bladerunner 2049. He can’t act ’cause he’s a robot.
  • La La Land. He can’t act ’cause he’s too obsessed by jazz.
  • The Place Beyond The Pines. He can’t act ’cause he’s dead.
  • Crazy Stupid Love. He can’t act ’cause he’s busy working on his abs.
  • Drive. He can’t act ’cause he’s got a cool jacket.
  • Half Nelson. He can’t act ’cause he’s on crack.
  • The Notebook. He can’t act ’cause you can’t tell the difference between Ryan Gosling and the timber he uses to build a dream house!

In short, unless you’re looking to remake Lord of the Rings and need someone to play a tree, Ryan Gosling can’t act.

But that doesn’t stop him from trying. And that perseverance is something we can all admire as we can’t run, swim or ride a bike we keep trying anyway.

So, God bless you, Ryan Gosling, you’re an inspiration to the hopeless everywhere!

Dream On Review (Andrew)

Last week someone recommended that I read ‘Dream On’ by John Richardson, the story of how one hopeless golfer tried to become a brilliant golfer in just 12 months.

He set himself a challenge – he would play a perfect round of golf. He’d shoot a level par round – a round of 18 holes where he equalled or bettered the course score without the help of any extra strokes. The only problem he had was that he started the year as a hopeless golfer who needed 20 extra strokes or more to get round.

Did he do it? Normally in these types of books the pleasure of reading it is to find out whether the author was successful… or not…

But, spoiler alert…

The author gives the game away in the first few chapters by randomly including a sentence starting with “After I did it…”

Thanks, John or your sub-editor for that one!

Apart from that, and a minor quibble that it would have been interesting to see some of his training logs so as to see the work required, what did I learn from it and how could it apply to triathlon – it’s not about the glamour

John made the mistake for most of his training of concentrating on his first shot – the drive. He wanted to hit the ball further and faster and with a bigger THWACK than anyone else. The drive is what impresses you’re playing partners and your club mates. It’s the most visible part of being a good golfer. The big shot from the tee.

However, for over six months he didn’t practice at all at putting. The sedate cousin of driving. There’s no big swing. No THWACK. It’s a gentle motion that seemingly requires no skill even though holing a long putt is one of the main things every golf programme focuses on in their daily highlights. It’s the glamour shot no one notices.

Yet, for John, it was only when he started to concentrate on his putting that his score started to improve because isn’t just one skill, it’s multiple skills. You need to be able to drive, you need to be able to hit a long iron for your second shot, you need to pitch short shots around the green and then you need to put. Also you need to keep all your womanising quiet, but that’s just Tiger Woods.

It’s the same for triathlon. The skills bit. Not the womanising bit. Triathlon is a mix of skills. From swimming to cycling to running and the all important getting your wet suit off really quickly in transition without falling over.

Yet, in order to improve, do we spend the same amount of time on all four parts?

If you’re anything like me then you concentrate on the bits that are easy – the running and cycling – and work less on the bits that are hard – swimming faster or further. In order to improve we need to concentrate on all parts.

Which seems obvious but it’s worth repeating because it’s easy to get seduced by the quick fixes that triathlon offers. A new wet suit, a faster bike, when all that matters is concentrating on the basics. Swim technique, pedalling and moving your feet faster for long than you did before.

Oh, and not falling over when trying to pull your wetsuit of your legs.

Anyway, all this came to mind because, in other news, Iain’s bought a time trial bike and he thinks it’ll make him faster and he’ll finally beat me. Well, all I can say to that is “Dream on!”.