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Back to training (Andrew)

A full week of training after two full weeks of feeling full.

Stomach bugs are strange things. You spend your time clearing your stomach out by all means possible and, even though you’re emptier than a promise from Boris Johnson, you don’t feel like eating anything at all. You feel full and when you try to eat something your stomach complains that it’s already had enough. You full of nothing. Just like Boris Johnson.

After two weeks my appetite returned and I was ready to start training again. A swim on Monday, two long runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, three hours on the bike on Thursday and then a break to rest before another three hours on the bike today. Not the longest training I’ve done, but a good start to get my legs moving again.

On Thursday, I was in Elgin and cycled to Dufftown and back in a loop round Moray and Speyside. On the way back I had a tailwind behind me (well, it was hardly likely to be in front of me, what with being a tailwind….) and sat between 25 to 30 mph for a 12 mile stretch between Rothes and Elgin. It was easy. Too easy in fact, I then went for a spin round Elgin to get some extra miles after finishing faster than I expected.

As I cycled round I passed a street with the following sign:


And I thought that’s a funny name for a road. Imagine if more roads were named after protests. We’d have the “What do we want? When do we want? Terrace”. The “Die Capatalist Pig Boulevard” before police arrived at the “Letsbee Avenue”.

What are you doing with my phone?


Last year, in Elie (Fife) I was walking on the cliffs above the town when I came across an iPhone lying against a post. My first thought was “I’ve found an Iphone. I can sell it and make a few hundred pounds!”  Thankfully, my second thought was “someone has lost an iPhone. How do I get it back to them?”

I picked the phone up and looked through the contact list for a “home” or a “mum” who I could phone and inform that their partner or son had lost a phone. Unfortunately there wasn’t any obvious names.

As I wondered what to do next a man ran up the path to the top of the cliff. He took one look at me and said “For F*&Ks sake!! What are you doing with my phone??”

I replied that I thought it had been lost as no-one was present. I was looking to return it to whoever it belonged to.

He continued to swear profusely and eventually explained that he’d set the phone up to record his attempt at running up the cliff. The run was “famous” and he was going to post his best time to a hill running forum.

Personally I wouldn’t leave my £600 phone out where anyone could walk of with it!

Since that day I’d always wanted to try the run. Luckily, this weekend, I was up tin Elie. I ran the route and I can honestly say it isn’t worth videoing! It was short and not that difficult. I think his friends should thank me because if he had videod it, I bet he would have bored them with it again and again and again….



Worseman (Andrew)

Saturday 7 November 2015

I’m not ready. Not physically. Not mentally.

I’m currently injured. A dull ache in my hip has developed into sharp pains in my lower back when I ride a bike or stretch forward. Other than a weekly game of football I haven’t done any exercise in a month. Not that I was doing that much before. I completed Iron Man UK in July and since then I’ve been ticking over, the occasional long ride or run but only when the weather was good and, even then, only when I felt like. Which again, hasn’t been often.

After Iron Man I promised myself I would never attempt such a distance again. I enjoyed my Iron Man experience. I had a perfect swim (for me), I enjoyed the cycle and I managed to grind out the run by running and walking. I wasn’t fast but I wasn’t competing for a time. I just wanted to get round and enjoy it – and to be able to walk again the next day.

Now, four months later, it’s catching up with me. It’s like the film ‘It Follow’. A monster slowly walking, always walking, until it reaches and kills it victim. Perhaps Iron Man is my monster and its only four months later that it has finally caught up with me. That dull ache was the warning. The sharp pains, the monster striking. And it couldn’t come at a worse time.

I’m in Norseman. The world’s toughest triathlon. A 3.6km swim in a freezing Norwegian fjord. A swim that starts by jumping off the back of a ferry. A 112 mile cycle though freezing mists, snow, hail, rain and across five mountains before a marathon run to the summit of another. This wasn’t my choice.

Well, not quite. Although I promised I would never attempt such a distance again, I knew I was lying. I’d caught the bug. I’d pushed myself as far as I thought I could go and I found I could have gone further, I could have gone faster. I’d not found my limit. I wanted to do more. But not next year. Not in 2016. Instead, in the back of my head I thought of two races I would love to do: the Marathon Des Sables (a five run across the Sahara desert) and Norse Man (the world’s toughest triathlon).

Both races are tough to enter. The Marathon Des Sable is fully booked two years in advance, you enter now for 2017. Norseman only has c250 places but nearly 3000 people enter. After that it’s a lottery. I had no thought of entering Norseman in 2016 but when the organisers announced that they’d changed the entry rules so everyone who missed out on a place in 2016 would have an increased  chance in following years I thought it would be daft not apply. Why not increase my chances for the times I wanted to apply?

Instead, I was lucky. Or unlucky. I was in. First time. Bugger.

I couldn’t not do it, could I? I couldn’t reject a place in an event  I may never have the chance to do again. This was a lottery, and my winning number was NorseMan ID3047.

So, here I am, sitting in front of the computer, wallet in my pocket, credit card on my desk, looking at the entry form and getting ready to press ‘submit’. I’m not ready, physically, or mentally. Jump off a ferry, swim a freezing fjord, cycle through a blizzard or run up a mountain? That’s for other people. Not me. I like cake. But this is it: a decision, a moment, nothing less than a leap of faith. I’m in.