Celtman Nutrition Plan (Andrew)

I was running through Cooper Park in Elgin this week when I passed the library and a bunch of teenagers hanging out on it’s steps. Which was good to see. Teenagers hanging out at the library. They must be the cool kids, I thought. Probably exchanging thoughts on whether the Blagh Book by Nigel Tomms really does challenge the stifling formality of language by writing a one million word long sentence where every second word has been replaced by the word “Blah” or whether it challenges anyone not to laugh at such pretentious twaddle as books are meant to, as a minimum, be, you know, read and understood.

And then one boy turned to the other and said: “Gonna give us a poond”.

“Wha fir?” said the other.

“It’s a poond an eccie and ahm gonna get wasted!”

Which made me think. How can an eccie, which I assume is an ecstasy tablet, not being up with the old drug lingo, be a pound? How can it be cheaper than a legal drug like alcohol or cigarette? Has the market fallen out of eccies. Is there a big warehouse with a secret stash of unsold tablets somewhere in the Moray countryside where the local drug dealer has no choice but to have a fire sale before the spring/summer eccies arrive?

Or was the kid being conned? Was someone selling Smarties and pretending they will get you high?

Or are drugs just really cheap?

They don’t tell you that in school.

“Don’t take drugs!” Says the teacher.

“Why not!” We say.

“They’re too cheap! Save up and get a proper drink like a Buckfast – like a real man!”

When I got back, I Googled “How much do drugs cost” and I was surprised to learn how cheap heroin is too. It’s only £10 for the average bag while cocaine is £30 – £40 per gram.

Based on those prices, I would be daft not to inject myself intravenously.

Then I Googled the price of new energy gels as I’d run out. And as I’ve written before – see here – I need a new supplier.

And, having checked the price of energy gels and energy bars and comparing them against the latest street prices I can confirm that I will be running Celtman on a nutrition plan of one ecstasy every hour and a shot of heroin at the end of each stage. It’s the economic choice. I’d be daft not to save money by buying my ‘nutrition’ on the black market. Triathlons can be expensive, but not if you shop around.

But, before I buy more drugs than Boots the Chemists, first I asked the Glasgow Triathlon Club Facebook forum this week for recommendations for a thick gel to replace my Zipvits and have been recommended gels by Torq. I’ve ordered a box of mixed gels – but if they don’t work out I may need to join the cool kid gang and visit the library…

Preparing for Celtman: November 2019 (Andrew)

I have slept in a living room, a cleaner’s cupboard and what felt like a supermarket skip. Racing around the country is expensive and one of the skills all triathletes need is the ability to find the cheapest and closest accommodation to the start line as possible.

On Skye we stayed in a hotel room whose window opened into a skip. Which was handy, as the room didn’t have a bin. Or much in the way of sheets, paint, any wifi or hope of better days. Every hour someone would throw a glass in the skip. Every hour. All night.

In Dunkeld, I thought I’d found a bargain before the Etape Caledonia. £35 a night for a double room. The room was new. Recently renovated and had a smell which could only be described as Eau Du Crime Scene Clean Up Crew. My eyes started watering as soon as we opened the door. The smell of bleach was so strong, my teeth turned white. The room was so new I’m sure it was still a cleaners cupboard that morning.

As for sleeping in a living room. That doesn’t sound too harsh until you read this – Norseman – and you spend three days with the equivalent of a torch shining in your face while you try and sleep.

But not this time. This time we’re staying at the Torridon Inn, a luxury hotel only a few minutes from the finish line.

After years of slumming I want something to look forward to at the end of the race.

Not that there’s that much choice for Celtman. The Applecross penisula is isolated and there’s not a lot of accommodation. To make it harder, the penisula forms part of the North Coast 500 tourist trail so any accommodation is already hard to find with tourists booking for their own tour of the Highlands.

So, no sooner were places confirmed than Iain scoured AirBnB and hotel websites for places to stay because there’s no point having a place if you don’t actually have a place to stay too. And not, thankfully, anywhere that will involve a rubbish dump, the eternal sun or more chemicals than the Rolling Stones dressing room.

Goals for December:

  • Training will officially start in January. December will be about getting into a routine of doing ‘something’ most days of the week but without any pressure to do anything in particular. It’ll just be about getting used to a routine.
  • Work out training plan
  • See if I can try and be a bit more scientific and check stats like heart rate, functional training power, watts and a whole host of other words I don’t know the meaning of yet.

Dreaming of Celtman 2020 (Andrew)

IronMan UK was my one and only long distance triathlon. Never again I said. That was it. One go. Done it. Never need to do it again.

Except for Norseman.

And possibly Challenge Roth.

But the chances of getting in were so slim that IronMan UK was, I thought, the only time I’d ever swim 3.9km again, probably the only time I’d ever cycle more than 100 miles and definitely the only time I’d run a marathon as I don’t like running long distances. 

Oh, and except for Celtman too. 

Apart from those three races, I was never going to voluntarily spend an entire day racing again!

But what were the chances of getting into Norseman? Challenge Roth or Celtman? People try for years and don’t get into any of them. I applied, still with no expectation of getting in, and, straight away, I’ve got a place in Norseman.

A couple of years later and I manage to get a place in Challenge Roth too.

And now I have a place in Celtman.

I don’t know whether God likes a laugh, but he certainly enjoys a good ironic chuckle. 

While Norseman was fantastic. I’ve written about it on the blog and you can find out all about it. Roth too. And they were both ‘special’ and they have given me some great memories (along with a deep, deep fear of losing my watch while swimming – read about it here and, four months later, I’m still mentally scarred by it!), it’s Celtman which means the most to me because it was Celtman that got me interested in triathlons.

I never watched triathlons on telly. I’d never heard of IronMan or knew anything about the World Championships in Hawaii. I knew triathlons existed, I’d even tried to the New Year’s Triathlon in Edinburgh but I was like a dog playing football. It might know to chase a ball but that’s all it has in common with a footballer. I knew you needed to swim, bike and run but I didn’t know it was better to swim freestyle, that a mountain bike is not the professional triathlete’s first choice or that the run is something you race, not walk in to finish. 

Celtman changed that. I was watching the Adventure Show on BBC Scotland. Every month it reports from different events across Scotland. In 2011, it reported back from the first Celtman extreme triathlon. 3.4km swim on the west coast of Scotland, a 120 mile cycle round the Applecross penisula and then a marathon up a Munro and finish in Torridon. 

“That’s impossible,” I said, “how do they do that?” 

Every year since I’ve watched the Adventure Show and thought I would love to take part but secretly I knew that I wasn’t good enough. I don’t want to swim through jellyfish in freezing cold water. I’ve never cycled 120 miles. I’ve never run a marathon up a mountain. That’s what other people do.

But as I started to train for races in middle distance, then long distance, then Norseman and Roth, I started to think this year that maybe, with a bit more effort, I could be ready for Celtman. Because I don’t want to just complete it. I want to stand at the top of the mountain and be one of the few competitors who complete the whole course. In order to do that you need to be halfway through the run eleven hours after starting. Which means I’ll have around 8 hours to complete 120 miles on the bike, knowing that my swim time is the one thing I won’t be able to change no matter how hard I train. 

And, to make this Celtman, even better, unlike Norseman and Roth, Iain will be racing too, which will be a good incentive for both training and on the day itself. Though it has spoiled my support runner plans as he was going to run the final half with me!

Now that I’ve secured a spot I keep thinking of the first edition. I think how impossible it seemed and I think how possible it now is. I can’t wait to take part!