Tag: swimming

End Of Month Report (Iain)

My plan for May was not to have any mileage goals but instead complete a number of events:

  • Helensborough 10K – I was hoping I’d get under 45 minutes for one of my 10K’s this month. I surprised myself by managing it in the first race. Link here
  • Bealach Na Ba Race 44 mile race (with the aim to do the climb twice) – My aim was to beat Andrew but he beat me due to a puncture. We didn’t do the climb twice due to the puncture. Link here
  • Loch Leven half marathon – the aim was to beat Andrew but he beat me easily! I was happy with my time so I can’t complain…too much. Link here 
  • Antonine Trail Race 10k – great race. I’ll sign up for the half marathon when it becomes available. Link here
  • Caledonian Etape 81 mile bike  – My aim was to beat Andrew but he cheated 🙂 Link here 
  • Dumbarton 10K – I didn’t make it to this race which I think is the second time I’ve entered it but not made it to the start line.
  • Shettleston 10K – Last race of the month. I was tired and hungover but my time was okay. Link here 

The theme of the month was “My aim was to beat Andrew but….”

Thankfully, despite these losses, the Todd Championship is still close. It’s currently 4-3 to Andrew. Overall, I enjoyed the races and got PB’s for the biking so it was a good month.

My plan for June is not to have a plan. Iron Man Edinburgh is the next goal (at the start of July) so I’ll concentrate on keeping everything ticking over so that I’m fit and healthy.

I also don’t want to let Andrew know what my plan for this month is to ensure I win! I have a secret idea….

Here’s a selection of photos from May. If you want to see more then follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/twinbikerun/

End Of Month Report: April (Iain)

My plan for April was:
– The Dirty Reiver race (you can read about it here
– Bike (on average) 110 miles a week – I managed 129
– Run (on average) 16 miles a week – I managed 16.3
– Do yoga at least once a week – done!
– Swim twice a week – I failed. I managed three swims in a month. I need to do better!
– Plaster the hall. I phoned a man and he’s doing it next week 🙂

I’m happy with how April went. I had a two weeks vacation. I call it a Scottish compass holiday because, by the end of it, I’d visited the north, south, east and west of Scotland!

In the north, I visited Findhorn. A very spiritual community of hippies with eco-homes. I found this book – “Your Pet’s Past Lives & How They Can Heal You”.

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I have so many questions:
– does my cat have nine past lives?
– Was my cat a cat in a previous life? If not, is being a cat a punishment or a reward for past behavior?
– how can my cat heal me? He seems pretty lazy and selfish. I suspect he’s planning to kill me.
– the author is a whale whisperer??? What are whales saying ? And how do you whisper underwater?

and WHO BELIEVES THIS TOSH?

In the south I visited the Garden of Cosmic Speculation. A wonderful garden that’s only open once a year. One of the grass mounds in looks like an ass which meant they needed this sign:

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Which is a motto I live my life by.

In the east I biked from Edinburgh back to my home in Lennoxtown. On the way I passed this sign:

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How many people get shot in Falkirk that’ve had to put a sign up telling them not to?!

And, in the west, I went home to Stornoway. I visited the Callanish Stones. They were much more redder whiter and pointy-er than I remember.

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My Plan for May is not to have any mileage goals as I’ve got loads of events to do:
– Helensborough 10K run
– Antonine Trail Race 10k run
– Dumbarton 10K run
– Shettleston 10K run (which despite the name isn’t in shettleston!)
– Caledonian Etape 81 mile bike race.
– Bealach Na Ba Race 44 mile race (with the aim to do the climb twice)

Here’s a selection of photos from April. If you want to see more then follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/imacivertodd/

Open Water Swimming (Andrew)

Home to the Western Isles for Easter and a chance to join the Hebridean Triathlon Club’s open water swim on Saturday morning. I say club but, as it’s only just started, it’s mostly a nice man called Colin who was happy for us to join him on his weekly swim at Coll beach.

He was prepared. He had an orange buoy to help with sighting, emergencies and generally keeping safe in the water. We had wetsuits and serious doubts we’d last more than five minutes in the water.

It was FREEZING!

“Six and half degrees,” said Colin.

And then 30 second later.

“Good news, it’s now seven!”

I couldn’t feel my feet. I’d not worn swim socks as I find them uncomfortable. They’re like two heavy bags strapped to your feet.

Not that I knew if I had feet. I couldn’t feel anything below my knees as I waded in.

“Dip your face in,” said Iain.

I did.

Like The Weeknd, I couldn’t feel my face.

So, that’s what that song is about. It’s not about cocaine at all, it’s about open water swimming.

I can’t feel my face when I’m with you!”

I tried swimming breaststroke for 10 minutes keeping my head carefully out of the water. Then, once I’d acclimatised, I tried some freestyle. (Or free(zing)style.)

I couldn’t feel my ears.

I was noticing a pattern.

Cold water is, well, cold.

But the sun was out. The swimming was good and it was great to be swimming again in more extreme conditions than a heated pool.

 

This boy can’t… (Iain)

#thisgirlcan is a social media campaign encouraging women to participate in sporting activities. Women are encouraged to tweet/facebook/instagram tales of sporting success (no matter how big or small) so that other women will be inspired.

It’s a great campaign and I recommend you check out the website: http://www.thisgirlcan.co.uk/

Would men benefit from a similar campaign? In my opinion, probably not – men do not have to be encouraged to brag. We’ve all written a blog post about an amazing training session or event, we’ve all gone into work and said how we smashed a bike/run/swim course at the weekend.   Did it inspire people? No, it probably bored them. Nobody likes hearing about success unless it’s their own.

So instead I’ve an idea that I think can inspire men. Let me be the first to say #thisboycant

Because I’ve learnt more through failing at sport than succeeding.

So join me as I admit:

#thisboycant snowboard –  I fell over during the first hour of a five day ski holiday while on the training slope. I accidentally punched myself in the chest. I broke my rib. I haven’t felt that bad after a punch since the last time I went to a house party and drank from a fruit bowl.

#thisboycant play rugby –  I was told by my coach that with correct technique I could tackle anyone. That was a lie. I tackled a man twice my size. My technique was perfect. I ended up concussed. I was more wiped out than the Labour vote at the next general election (oooh. A little bit of politics!)

#thisboycant cycle on the track – I attended four track session. On the test day another cyclist crashed into a wall above me. His bike slid down the track into mine. I fell off, hitting the ground hard. I bashed my head and lost skin on my arm. I looked so bad I was mistaken for the Elephant man.

#thisboycant rock climb – I went to a climbing center. I had to attach the rope to my harness in two places. I attached it to just one. I fell off the wall. Luckily the one place holding the rope was strong enough to break my fall. Unfortunately that one place was my crotch. The instructor said it took balls to survive a fall like that. It certainly did!

I learnt something from each of these failures. I learnt I don’t have to be good at sport to enjoy taking part.

So when people ask me whether they should attempt an event be it running/biking/triathlon? I say, YES! I can’t do it but I’ve never let that stop me so it shouldn’t stop you either 🙂

The next time you write a blog/tweet etc think about writing about something you can’t do.

What a shower! (Andrew)

They don’t cover this in any training plan.

It’s not in any book.

But it’s the one thing you need to know before starting any triathlon programme – how often do you need to shower?

Check your programme. It doesn’t mention it, does it? Your programme will tell you that, today, you need to run five miles and you need to swim two kilometres; but what it doesn’t say is that you’ll also need to shower after that run and shower after that swim – and, probably, shower when you get up.

Unless you don’t sweat when you sleep. Then don’t shower when you get up.

(Ya dirty stop out).

Training programmes will tell you that you will train for five, six, seven hours however, when trying to fit it all in, those programme should also explain how long it’ll take to shower – and to get changed.

You don’t start running without getting changed. Not unless you like nudey jogging, which, in Glasgow, is dangerous as it’s cold and people will think a Smurf is running wild through the streets.

Instead, when looking at your training programme you need to think – “okay, I can run for five miles at lunchtime but that also means I’ll need a shower when I get back. Now, my one hour lunch is looking a bit tight (unless you can run under 7 minutes a mile) as not only do I need to run, I need to shower and I still need to eat.”

Showering is the fourth discipline of triathlon. Maybe, the fifth after transition. But definitely in the top six of tri.

The sixth is getting your wetsuit on without looking like a sausage trying to squeeze back into its skin.

Showers need as much planning as any other part of triathlon.

You need to remember a towel for the pool, a second for work. You need to think about your hair, do you wash it first thing when you wake, or after your run at lunch, or both times, or none at all – you like it tussled.

Hair is a triathletes’ worst enemy. We spend most of the race covering it up with swim cap and bike helmet only to unleash it on the run when it’s damp, sweaty, flat and, possibly, covered in salt. Your hair basically has all the grace of a chip found in the gutter at the side of the road.

(Random thought – why is stylish a compliment? She’s stylish! Normally, when you add -ish to the end of the world it’s an insult, it detracts from what you’ve just said. This sandwich is alright-ish. Stylish should mean you have style, well, styl-ish.)

When planning any training programme the most important thing you can do is plan your showers along with it. I’ll look at my day and see if I need a swim in the morning followed by a run at lunch time means two showers – one after the swim and one after the run – instead of three if I shower in the morning, run in the afternoon then shower, then swim at night then shower.

I then take it further. If I’m cycling at night and shower at 8pm. Does that mean I don’t then need a shower in the morning because it’s been less than 12 hours since I last showered?

I could then have a shower on Monday night, not shower on Tuesday morning, shower on Tuesday afternoon after a run then only have one shower when I would have had two.

Genius.

Assuming you agree that showers are more of a time thing rather than linked to how much you whiff when you get up.

See, planning showers is hard! And they need just as much attention as the training itself.

I mention all of this because a couple of weeks I had a misfortune in the shower. I was at work. I was finishing washing when, instantly, the lights went out.

The work shower in a room off a corridor which is off another corridor. It’s right at the centre of our office, far, far away from any windows. When the lights went out, it instant darkness. No light under the door, no passive light to slip through and provide some illumination. I was effectively blind.

And I couldn’t remember how to open the shower door.

I’d never had to think about it before. I just opened it. With my hands – and my eyes.

Now, I’m trapped in the cubicle, sightless, and unable to remember if it swung in, swung out, slid open or lifted up suicide door style.

I couldn’t get out. Nor could I shout for help. I was naked. Help would come but help would very quickly run away.

For five minutes I tried pulling, pushing, sliding and jostling until I figures out there was a pivot in the middle of the door that meant I had to both pull and slide it to open it.

I then used the light from my iPhone to get changed.

It’s what Bear Grylls would have done.

So, the moral of this story, is that showers are tricky things. Not only can you get trapped in them you can also find them eating into your valuable time. Incorporate showers into your training plan. Plan ahead. Know how they open and close. Master the shower – and you will master triathlon.

The Beer Triathlon (Iain)

Whilst training for an event some people will abstain from alcohol. There’s a name for them – boring bastards!

My fastest ever half marathon time was achieved whilst drunk. Would I have gone faster if I’d been sober? Probably not – I was so hungover and desperate for water that I ran the legs between water stations as fast as possible.

If it’s possible to drink and run, is it possible to drink and triathlon? After a swift Google I’m proud to announce the best and definitely drunkest race ever invented – Beer-athlon!

It comprises a beer swim, a beer bike and beer run. It will take place in Austria because that the only place I could find a beer swimming pool.

Starkenberger’s Castle in Austria doesn’t just have the world’s only beer swimming pool. It has seven! Each pool contains 42,000 pints of beer! That’s 294,000 pints. Enough to keep a Scottish man in beer for at least a few hours. 🙂

If anyone gets out of the pool alive then it’s onto the bike leg. For this I’ve sourced the worlds best beer bike.

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This bike allows you to “refuel” on the move. The distance of the ride is however far it takes to finish both kegs.

The finale is provided by a beer I spotted in the pub – Running Beer.

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Each athlete has to down a pint and then run 100m in a straight line. The winner is the first person to achieve that.

I can’t see what could possibly go wrong with this format. 🙂

Last week’s training (Andrew)

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A full week of training complete.

A tough week. Double the training and back in the pool for swimming and back outside for running (though not yet on the bike).

Swimming had all the grace of a Donald Trump tweet. Every stroke felt like I was flailing, sinking, drowning and moving backwards but, by Sunday, and three swims, I started to feel more comfortable in the water.

Running was good. A bit slow and stiff to start with but I managed at least five miles for each run and, despite very heavy legs on Saturday, nearly 8 miles round Shawlands on Saturday afternoon.

I didn’t manage to get out on the bike, still slightly nervous that two hours of cold air would bring back my cough, but I did manage 90 minutes on the Turbo instead. This week’s challenge is to get outside and get a long ride in. If I waited for warmer weather in Scotland I’d never get out at all…

 

 

Is that a wart on your foot or do you have six toes? (Iain)

My school had three rules for swimming:

  1. No dive bombing!
  2. No kit, no swim!
  3. No verrucas!

If you don’t know what a verruca is, then it’s a wart on your foot. It’s commonly caught off someone else who has one.

To prevent the spread of verrucas swimming pools had a small hole in the ground at the changing room exit. The hole would commonly be filed with a red chlorine like liquid.

On exiting I had to put both feet into the wee pool of red (normally freezing cold) liquid. The liquid supposedly contained disinfectant that protects feet from catching a verruca.

I got a verruca. Andrew got a verruca. In fact most of my school got a verruca.

It put me off going swimming. I didn’t like the wart! I didn’t like wee red pool of disease! I didn’t like the heavy smell of chlorine in the air! I didn’t like all the people in the pool swimming past or across me! I hated everything about swimming!

It put me off going to public pools. I didn’t swim for 15 years.

I didn’t discover a love of swimming until I joined the Arlington bath club. – the oldest surviving Victorian bathing complex in the world. It doesn’t have a small verruca puddle, it doesn’t stink of chlorine and most importantly it has lane etiquette.

Lane etiquette means once I start swimming in a lane its mine until I’m finished. No-one will jump in to the lane with me. No-one will swim across me and no-one will have a verruca…I hope!

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Freestyling (Andrew)

People say that golf’s a “good walk spoiled” but, as I like golf, I prefer to say that swimming’s a “good drowning spoiled”.

Swimming is a silly sport.

Think about it. You don’t have running events where we move our legs in different ways. We don’t have the 100m normal run, the 100m bandy leg run – nor do we run 100m backwards. Yet, swimming thinks it’s perfectly okay to have umpteen different ways of thrashing your arms to make you go forward – or backwards.

Shouldn’t the person who swims 100 meters fastest be the person who… you know… swims 100 meters the fastest? Stop giving gold medals to people who are clearly not fast enough to swim fast enough.

And swimmers know they shouldn’t reward second place. There’s a hierarchy in swimming. At the top they have ‘free style’ and at the bottom they have ‘doggy paddle’ a stroke so poor they don’t even call it a stroke, they call it a paddle, a name which comes from having to use a boat because you can’t swim. And this hierarchy is clear because although swimmers have free style events where swimmers can swim any of the four main stokes – freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly – they all swim freestyle because it’s the fastest.

You wouldn’t race Uisean Bolt by jogging not sprinting, so you don’t race free style by using any stroke other than the fastest.

Yet, still we celebrate Michael Phelps even though he’s not actually got as many gold medals as you think because many of those medals are for events where, even though he came first, he was still not the fastest man to swim from one side of a pool to another.

Perhaps my views on swimming are based on the fact that I’m just jealous. Swimming is hard. I enjoy it, but it’s hard.

For years I could only swim breaststroke. But, when I entered my first triathlon, I knew I would have to learn to swim free style – and I struggled.

The first lap would be okay, the second not bad, the third was when my lungs gave out, the water leaked into my goggles and into my eyes and, by the time I’d reached the fourth lap I was knackered.

It took a few months to become even vaguely confident about swimming and, even now, a few years later, while I’ve grown to like swimming, I don’t love it the same way I love running and cycling.

Swimming is a silly sport.

But it’s part of triathlon and a major part of Celtman so, to help with getting ready for this year’s race, I’ve changed gym (more on that next time) and joined one that’s easier to get to first thing in the morning. And while I’ve been unable to train the last few weeks I have made one major change to help when I start again. I’m now getting up at 6:15 rather than 7:00 so that I can train in the morning before going to work. And, a major part of that change will be to go to the pool at 7am.

No wonder I hate swimming. It’s made me get up early in the morning.

Damn you swimming!

However my new gym has one advantage over all the other gyms in Glasgow (no, it’s not that the pool is only 21m long so it makes you think you swim a lap faster than anywhere else) , it’s the fact that it has a policy of only allowing one swimmer a lane.

The bottom of the pool has lanes marked on it and, once you’ve picked one, no one else can use it until you’re finished. No more sharing a land with someone really, really slow. (Or Iain, as I call him). No more sharing a lane with someone who wears indecent running shorts instead of swimming trunks. (Or, again, Iain, as I call him). Instead, you can swim back and forth free and uninterrupted swimming any stoke you like – even if you know there only one stroke that really counts.

End of Month Report: January (Iain)

My plan for January was:

  • Bike (on average) 75 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 13 miles a week running including at least one 10k.
  • Do yoga at least once a week

It looks like I’ll finish the month:

  • Bike (on average) 100 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 16 miles a week including four 10k+ runs.
  •  Most weeks I’ve managed two yoga sessions

Overall, I’m pleased with the start to the year. The weather has been unusually good which is reflected in my better than average performance. There hasn’t been a day when it’s not been possible to commute to work by bike. In previous years I’ve lost at least a week in January due to snow and ice.

My plan for February is:

  • Bike (on average) 100 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 16 miles a week including a 10k+ run once a week.
  • Do yoga at least once a week
  • Swim twice a week.

My plan is to slowly increase bike mileage every month. I might not be so lucky with the weather in February so I’ll make the goal the same as what I achieved this month.

I’ve joined a swimming pool so I should be able to swim twice a week as its on my way to and from work. I won’t put any distance down for it as I just want to enjoy the first few weeks back.

This month training was also good for photos. Here’s a selection from my training. If you want to see more then follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/imacivertodd/ 

Andrew is not on Instagram. I think he’s worried about how many likes I get in comparison to him 😉