Tag: triathlon

Escape From Alcatraz 2017 – The ‘Duathlon’ Version (Andrew)

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Have you read the Mind Chimp by Dr Steve Peters? It’s a good book, well, good chapter, about sports pyschology. I say chapter because after the first chapter explains his theory the rest of the book… explains his theory and then explains it again and again.

I can only imagine that Dr Steve Peters inner chimp wasn’t an editor.

If you’ve not read it then the basic theory goes something like this: everyone has a chimp, but not in a Michael Jackson type way. He had an actual chimp. We have an inner chimp. A voice in our head that reacts emotionally to events. The book shows how to understand how your mind works and how to ignore negative thoughts like doubt and fear.

It also tells you to ignore losing (which reminds me that I should really get a copy for Iain before next year’s Etape Caledonia) and that you should approach each event on the basis that you can only judge it on how well you trained and how well you raced and that position is not important.

Wise words for this year’s Escape From Alcatraz. After the swim was cancelled, I was disappointed, half thought of not finishing it. Why bother if it’s not the full event?

But that was my chimp talking.

Not that chimps talk. They just say OOOOK, which means “chimp wanna banana”, unless it’s Michael Jackson’s chimp talking in which case OOOOK means “get away from me ya big weirdo”.

Instead, I ignored my chimp and thought: “This is the race. There is no swim. You can only start what’s before you. You were on the boat. You were ready to dive in. You can’t do any more than what you’ve done. So, pull yourself together and get on that bike and get out and run!”

And I did.

And it was brilliant.

Even though I felt like a sausage.

Iain had loaned me a tri suit. Normally, I’d wear tri shorts and change and use a cycling top for the bike and swap t-shirts for the run. But, this time, I was going ‘full triathlete’.

But what they don’t tell you about ‘full triathlete’ is that ‘full triathlete’ involves a garment, the tri suit, which is designed to be slim, sleek, figure hugging and aerodynamic. Or, if you’re a normal body shape, designed to make you look like a strong man has just squeezed a sausage. A plump sausage.

I will not be posting any pictures from the race of anything other than my head!

Bike course

Bike

The bike course is out and back from transition to Golden Gate park. It’s closed road, which is fantastic, and his great views of the bridge, Lands End, the west coast and Ocean Beach.

The hills are relatively shallow, but I was surprised at the number of people stopping and walking up them. Maybe Scotland is better training for San Francisco than other places, but, if you are training somewhere flat, then practice for hills, the course goes up and down faster than Theresa May approval rating.

For those travelling from the UK, India, Australia, the Caribbean, Malta and Cyprus (and anywhere else that drives on the left hand side of the road), then watch out for overtaking. Americans overtake on the left, not the right. Which is more obvious when driving, the oncoming traffic being a big clue (!), but, on a closed road on a bike, it’s easy to overtake on the right, and some folk don’t like that. “Sorry!” to whoever I cut off at Cliff House, I don’t know who you are, but you certainly had a loud voice!

The final few miles are flat, and, with a windy day, gusts were hitting 35mph on Sunday, and with the wind behind, it’s a very quick finish.

Run route

Run

Let’s talk about hills. And steps. Hills are okay, you slow down, shorten your stride, switch your mind off and keep climbing. Steps on the other hand are made to be walked on. It’s automatic. See a step. Walk on it.

At least that’s my excuse for not running all of the run route. There’s two sections with steps. The first at two miles, where you climb steps up to the Golden Gate bridge and the second at 4.5 miles where you tackle the ‘sand ladder’.

I’d read about the ‘sand ladder’ before the race. I knew it involved a steep climb after a short run on a beach but I didn’t realise just how steep it was. (Ladder should have been a clue, it wasn’t called the step stairs, or the step easy incline, it was the step ladder). I didn’t even try and run it. I grabbed one of the guide ropes at the side and used that to help me climb.

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Once those two climbs are done, it’s a nice two and bit mile run back to transition on flat ground.

I play a game as I run. At registration everyone has their age written on their left hamstring with a black marker. I don’t know why. Maybe the sharks in the bay want to know how old a leg is before they bite it off?

But, as I run, I check out people’s legs to see how old they are. Then when they pass I have a quick sideways look to see if they look older, younger or spot on.

It’s basically a very judgemental version of Bruce Forsyth’s Play Your Card Rights. Higher! Lower! Blimey, see a doctor, you’ve had a hard life!

It’s only at the end that I realise that everyone could be doing the same for me. Except they’d add, I’d thought at his age he’d at least be trying to run the stairs?

Sorry, chickened out!

The finish line had a large crowd but one which was quite quiet. My wife was waiting and she said afterwards that people only tended to cheer athletes they knew rather than everyone as they came in. She also overheard the following conversation:

Mother: C’mon children, let’s get ready to cheer daddy!

Small child: Why?

Mother: Because he’s just finished a big race and it’s a massive achievement!

Small child: Is it?

Mother: (After a long pause) Well, he thinks it is…

I think many triathlete widows and widowers can empathise!

At the finish, I get a big medal, a big meal (pasta, soup and various barbecue options) and a great sense of achievement – I could do no more than what I did, I was ready to jump, but better to be safe than to risk your life in dangerous waters. I’d escaped Alcatraz (albeit that maybe this year, the guards had left the keys in the lock to make it slightly easier)!

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Alcatraz Top Tips

Pre-race:

Registration is very busy between 11am and the first briefing at 1pm. You will need to queue. We had to wait 30 minutes in a queue that snaked all the way around transition. However, if you arrive later, the queue is much shorter.

You can’t take your bike into registration so, if you don’t have a handy wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend/partner with you, then you’ll want to bring a lock so you can leave your bike safely while you register.

Transition has security guards so leaving bike on Saturday is perfectly safe. You can’t leave your kit, so you will still need to prepare transition on Sunday morning but at least your bike is racked.

There are lots of buses on Sunday morning to get from transition to the boat, so no need to worry about catching the bus.

You can leave a bag at a collection point outside the boat but, if you leave it on the boat, you’ll need to wait longer on Sunday to collect it.

Unlike Norseman, where there a hose of seawater to help you acclimatise, you just jump straight into the bay. I recommend the (untested) frozen water bottle trick!

I hired a bike from Blazing Saddles. You need to bring your own pedals but they provided a helmet and seat bag with pump, spare tube and puncture repair kit, which was great. The store at 550 North Point Street is less than 15 minutes from transition, easy to get to before the race and easy to return bike afterwards. Excellent service and a wide selection of bikes to choose. Though order early if you need a specific size.

Aberfeldy Middle Distance – Bike Course (Iain)

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Whilst Andrew was failing to escape from Alcatraz, I was in Aberfeldy visiting our parents. They were staying here, instead of at home in the Western Isles, as my Dad had a hospital appointment to attend.

During his appointment he had to sit a memory test. To pass, the test required a score of at least 82 out of 100. If he failed then he could lose his driving licence.

This seems very unfair as I only needed 40% to pass my university exams and, with that limited knowledge, I’ve been in charge of things much more dangerous than a car.

During the test, one of the question was name an object beginning with P. He said penis. My mum was appalled. He was then asked to name the President of the United States, he couldn’t remember. I suspect he’d have got it correct if he’d also said a penis!

The Aberfelday Middle Distance Triathalon bike route starts in Kenmore. The town is famous for being the place where the first cast of the salmon season takes place. Less well known is it’s a town evil Iranian dictator Colonal Gaddafi bought property in!

http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/news/14496744.Libya_claims_ally_of_Gaddafi_bought_hotels_in_Highlands/

I wonder if any other dictators have property in Scotland? Maybe North Korea’s Kim Jung Un has a little flat in Saltcoats? Maybe Syrian President Bashir likes nothing better than a day on the beach at Prestonpans?

Unfortunately, I’m away when the Aberfeldy race is on, but, if you are doing the event, here’s what you need to know.

The first three miles are flat. There is a single lane bridge with traffic lights in Kenmore. I assume a marshal will be here and wave bikes through if it’s clear otherwise your race would stop before it’s barely began.

After three miles of flat it’s nearly five miles of uphill. It’s a straightforward climb but keep a look out for the turn onto the Schiehallion road. I missed it and had to turn back. Again, I assume a marshal will be at this point.

Once on to the Schiehallion road it’s mostly flat and fast but there are some tight corners where you can’t see what’s coming. I had to brake in case a car was coming the other way. The roads aren’t very wide so I didn’t want to drift into a car’s way. The descent on the way down to Kinloch Rannoch had two steep sections with tight corners.

Once in Kinloch Rannoch its virtually flat all the way round the loch. The road was good quality and I used tri bars all the way round.

The climb back up Schiehallion isn’t as bad as the first time as there’s less of it! It’s then virtually downhill all the way back although watch out as some of the corners are tight.

Overall it’s a enjoyable ride. Nearly 850m of climbing but with lots of places you can get the head down and bike fast.

Escape From Alcatraz – Swim (Andrew)

Athletes, listen, this is an important announcement! You must –

Pfffffftt. Ziiipppp. Fffffuutttt. PA broken. Silence.

I’m waiting in transition. I’m wearing a wetsuit and trainers. I should be swimming in San Francisco bay but I’m not – the 2017 Escape From Alcatraz swim has been cancelled (for the first time ever!) and I’m waiting to find out what happens next.

It was an early start, 4am alarm, but, with the time difference between UK and the US it still felt like mid-morning. I got an Uber to transition, having left my bike there yesterday, the first time they’ve let people rack up on the Saturday. I didn’t know at this point it wasn’t the only weekend ‘first’ .

At transition I have plenty of time to set up my gear (unroll towel, check bike helmet, 10 seconds, done), check bike for air (press both tyres down with my thumb, 5 seconds each) and then catch a bus to the boat which takes you out to Alcatraz (just a couple of minutes to catch the bus).

The last bus leaves at 6am but, as I wasn’t sure of queues, I’d  got to transition early and after completing my rigorous and thorough transition routine… I was on the bus by 5am, which was too early. I was on the boat by 5:30 and had two hours to wait until the swim start.

On the boat, a former sternwheeler (I Googled this), you get divided by age: over 40 onto the top deck, under 40 on the main deck. In case you forget how old you are you can check your leg: at registration they write your age in black marker on your left hamstring.

I’m under 40, and with my memory intact, I don’t even need to check when asked, so I get to sit on the main desk. As I’m there early, there’s plenty of places to sit, so I sit down.

Sorry, you can’t sit there.

The man to my left is indicating an empty space of 10 metres.

My friend’s just coming back.”

It’s okay, I’m sure we’ll both fit.

I sit down and then worry that a man with a 10 metre wide butt will sit on me. Luckily, when the friend returns, he has a normal size butt – as do the two others who later join us. Not that I was checking out butts. But how much room does one butt need?! Even Sir Mix-A-Lot, the world expert on big butts and a man who cannot lie, would have said there was room for plenty of butts on that part of the boat.

I close my eyes. Listen to random conversation and think about the swim.

I’m nervous. Scared. But I have a secret weapon. Last night I left a water bottle in the fridge and I plan to pour it on my face and down my back before jumping into the bay. I think the cold water will help me acclimatise before I plunge in.

But, I never get to check that theory. At 6:30am, just as we’re due to sail to the start, a man with a loudspeaker tells us to be quiet and to listen to the PA. The PA then tells us that there’s been a “small craft advisory warning “and that the “swim is cancelled“.

There’s a loud groan. A protest. We’re asked to leave the boat and it’s still not clear why.

People talk about refunds. About ditching the whole event. One man says he can’t run or ride a bike, the only reason he was here was for the swim. Others talk in foreign languages. People travelling around he world to be here. And the swim, the iconic swim from Alcatraz back to San Francisco is cancelled.

Now I know how Al Capone must have felt – there was no escape from Alcatraz today.

Later, I find out that the wind and current was too strong even for the safety boats. The small craft warning was a warning that the kayaks and paddle boards who marshal the swim would not cope with the conditions. And if it was too dangerous for the safety boats it was too dangerous for swimmers.

I’m disappointed. I’d travelled a quarter of the world to.be here but I know safety comes first. And, after seeing the bay later, with whitecaps heading east, rather than west, and with winds hitting 35mph, it was the right call.

We queue to get back on the buses. It takes nearly two hours to get everyone back to transition. We still don’t know what’s happening but announcements say that a bike run race will take place and details will follow.

I keep warm by staying in my dry wetsuit. I thought of pouring the frozen water on my head just so I can have the Alcatraz experience but that would have been a stupid idea.

At transition, the PA gives our just as the announcement of the new race is made: “Athletes, listen, this is an important announcement – you must –

We gather at the entrance instead as a loudspeaker is found. The organisers will send us out in waves. Pros first then by number, five at a time, every 10 seconds, to ensure people are spread out along the course just as they would be if they’d completed the swim.

I finally take off my wetsuit and get ready to… ESCAPE FROM TRANSITION!

Shettleston 10K (Iain)

The Shettleston 10k is misnamed – it wasn’t in Shettleston. It was in Glasgow green.

The Edinburgh marathon works under a similar ruse. Visitors think they’re going to run through one of the worlds great cities but instead the race heads out of the city. Before you know it, your running thought a council estate in Prestonpans.

It should be called the “leaving Edinburgh and running through crap towns” marathon.

I did the race when the course was in Edinburgh. Andrew had trained for months to do it. I got a place at the last minute when someone else dropped out. I hadn’t trained. The night before the race, I drank shots in a bar til 3 AM.

The race started at Meadowbank stadium. the first mile was a brutal climb of Arthur’s seat. I felt ill. I kept pace with Andrew till the halfway point and then I retired.

The winning time for the Shettleston 10k was the fastest 10K time in Scotland this year. The man who ran it is called Wayney Ghebresilassie. With a surname like that its not a surprise he’s good at running! He cruised round in 30.11.

I was slightly hungover having attended a wedding the day before. Having learnt a lesson from my Edinburgh marathon experience I didn’t drink shots till 3AM. I drank beer.

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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.

 

Female factory packers of the world unite! (Andrew)

Every six months or so I order new energy gels. I have to order them from the internet as I like ZipVit gels and you can’t buy them in any shops, or at least the shops I know, or at least the shops I know within five minutes of the house. The internet has reduced the need to search any further!

Today, my latest supply of banana gel ZipVit’s arrived  – and they came with a message on the front of the box. An unexpected message. It said:

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Now, while I’m all for manufacturers telling you that they took care packing their products, they really shouldn’t need to tell you that. It should be a basic requirement of delivering anything that you didn’t just throw everything into a box higgledy piggledy before mashing it down, throwing it as hard as you could against a brick wall before stamp on it to make sure the lid closed. That’s Royal Mail’s job. The manufacturer should be sending everything packed carefully.

So, it was nice that they’d taken the time to highlight this as an important step. Unnecessary, but nice.

What I do have issue with, what I really don’t believe, it’s that “Sam” had anything to do with it,

Maybe, I’m wrong. Maybe the ZipVit warehouse is filled with good looking women taking an almost unhealthy interest in packing energy gels boxes in brown delivery boxes to fat guys on bikes. Maybe she placed this sticker here with her own fair hand, a fair hand shared with the hundred other beautiful women of the ZipVit shop floor all desperate to provide MAMIL’s with much needed banana tasting energy boosts.

Perhaps Zipvit is at the cutting edge of female empowerment in the warehouse packing industry. Maybe they sponsor deprived woman from inner city communities, train them and teach them and school them in the ways of packing boxes.

Or perhaps Sam is a lone trailblazer in a male dominated industry where to handle a package you need to, well, be able to handle your own package.

Maybe Sam is the Emily Pankhurst of ZipVit box packers? Maybe she’s a feminist icon in waiting? Maybe just maybe Sam is real.

Or maybe, almost certainly, it was packed by Dave from Rotherham.

Dave who farts on the boxes and scratches his bum.

That Dave.

Not Sam.

Dave.

I hate you, Dave!

You lied to me, Sam!

And you didn’t even pack it carefully – one of the corners was squashed!

End Of Month Report: March (Iain)

My plan for March was:

  • Stirling Duathlon.
  • Alloa Half Marathon.
  • Bike (on average) 100 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 16 miles a week including a half marathon and a 10k.
  • Do yoga at least once a week.
  • Swim twice a week.

What actually happened:

Oh well, I achieved everything but the second swim. I can’t complain about March. The weather was good and I was healthy all month.

This month’s targets:

  • The Dirty Reiver https://www.dirtyreiver.co.uk/ It’s a gravel bike race in Kielder forest. A 60 mile off-road course on gravel tracks. I’m looking forward to it as I’ve never been to this part of the Country before and I’ve heard its a beautiful spot.
  • Bike (on average) 110 miles a week.
  • Run (on average) 16 miles a week including at least one off road hilly run of an hour a week.
  • Do yoga at least once a week.
  • Swim twice a week.

I’m on holiday for two weeks so I’m looking forward to biking and running but also catching up with household chores. I have a hall that needs plastered and painted. That’ll definitely be the hardest challenge of the month. 🙂

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

Stirling Duathlon (Iain)

dual
djuːəl/
adjective – consisting of two parts, elements, or aspects.

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Last Sunday, Andrew and I raced the Stirling Duathlon – a 10K run, 42K bike, 5K run.

I have one issue with the event. I don’t like the name: Duathlon! It confused friends and family. They all said “Shouldn’t it be a run, then bike, then stop?”

I agree – a Duathlon isn’t two things. Its three! A 10k run, a 42K bike ride and a 5K run. That’s two different runs.

I think a better name would be dryathlon – due to the lack of swimming you avoid getting wet 🙂

We’d both entered the Stirling Triathlon before. On each occasion I’d beaten Andrew. I therefore hoped to do it again – but Andrew cheated! He brought his time trial bike. He also brought his “twat hat”, which he prefers to call an aero helmet.

This is mechanical doping! The bike is the mechanical bit and the dope is the man in the pointy helmet riding it.

I knew my chances of winning had diminished.

10k Run (50 min)

The run is 4 laps of Stirling university campus. There’s a wee hill that provides a short sharp shock to the system. During lap 1 I thought to myself “This hill isn’t as bad as I remember.” During lap 4 I thought “Does this f$%ing hill ever f$%ing end!”

42K Bike (1hr 26 min)

Within a mile of the start Andrew shot past me. His more aerodynamic position and ice cream cone for a helmet gave him an advantage. I tried to keep up but couldn’t. The course is two loops of the Ochil hills. I did both my loops in the exact same time. I may not be quick but I am consistent.

5K Run (26 min)

It was another two loops of the hill which meant I had to pass Andrew twice. On both occasions he reminded me how far ahead he was. Spotting his smiling face twice was worse than the f%$king hill!

Overall

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My aim was to run the first 10k in 50 minutes, the bike in less than 90 minutes and the last run in less than 30 minutes. I achieved all three so I’m happy with that.

On the day the best Todd won but I’m still leading the Todd championship! The next round of this prestigious event will be the Dirty Reiver race in April.

PS – Is a running event a monoathalon?

PPS – free beer at the finish 🙂

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.