Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Sting

- Quick follow me in here before she shuts the window.
- What if we get caught ?
- We won’t, now hurry, she always closes the window then the curtains. If we get in quick enough we can hide up there behind the curtain rail.

They both made it in through the window and then stopped hidden behind the curtain rail not making a sound. They didn’t want her to know that they were there. She closed the window and pulled the curtain across, still they hid, any sound and they would be in trouble.

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He was breathing hard, every intake felt sharp against his heaving lungs. In the distance he could hear barking and shouting. He guessed he had five minute advantage on them, but on foot and the way he was feeling he would soon lose that. He spurred himself on through the bracken, picking himself up for one last almighty effort. The branches pulled at his face and body as he struggled and wriggled through. The shouting and barking was getting closer, the hair on the back of his neck stood on end. He mustn't allow himself to become frightened, fear would smell even stronger to the dogs and catching him would be easier.

He broke free from the bracken, into an open field. He bounded across the field, the wet grass sapping the strength from his legs making them heavy, every stride taking a huge amount of effort. His heart was pounding in his chest and he thought that if the dogs didn’t get him then his heart would surely explode. He approached the middle of the field and felt the ground shudder, he glanced back over his shoulder, horses were soaring over the hedges and into the field, from the bracken and bushes he had emerged from came the dogs, tongues hanging out of the side of their mouths, dripping with saliva. They were barking indiscriminately and solely because the other dogs were barking.

Unless he made it to the far side of the field he’d be done for. Summoning all the energy remaining in his aching limbs he bounded forward, the edge of the field in sight, he could smell the rain on the leaves, and feel the freedom that it would offer him. The dogs were gaining all the time, their barks getting louder as they closed in.

He wanted to look over his shoulder, see how close they were, but realised that would cost him valuable seconds. The last few metres seemed to take forever, he really had nothing left in the reserve tanks. He reached the hedge and thrust his face through, there was a wire fence and he had his head caught in it. His legs and tail were sticking out and the dogs were nearly on him. He couldn’t believe it, he’d made it but then this. He continued trying to force his way through the fence, chewing at the wire, trying to force an opening so he could get through onto the road and safety.

He almost forgot about the dogs then remembered.

He felt his tail pulled sharply and yelped as teeth sunk into the gristle and bone. He could feel the cold trickle of his blood creep down his tail. He managed to hold off being torn from the hedge and guessed that from where he was only one dog could get at him. He continued gnawing at the fence with his tail being bitten and pulled at, clumps of hair were being ripped out. His eyes were popping with fear and determination. He was inches from freedom. He swung his back legs into the hedge to give him some respite from the dogs. The voices of men became audible and he could hear them cheering on the dogs who were now in a frenzy, ripping at the hedge, pushing their faces into the brambles and pulling back only when catching a thorn in the eye or nose.

Still he gnawed at the fence, he could feel it begin to weaken in his jaw but he also felt the bushes around him begin to thin as the dogs tore at them to get at him. If he didn't get through soon he be caught and ripped apart by the frenzied dogs.

With one last bite he broke the fence, he fell through and stumbled onto his stomach such was the force he had been pushing with. As he looked behind him the bush fell away and the slobbering faces of the dogs hit the fence. They were barking and searching frantically for a way through the fence, all the while their tales wagging.

The hole was too small for them to get through and he realised he was safe. Surveying the damage to his tail he winced, it was torn down the sides where clumps of hair had been ripped from the skin and where the teeth had punctured through. The blood was matted against the remaining fur and beginning to tighten where it was drying.

He turned away from the dogs and faced the road. A van sped by and sprayed him with water from the gutter as it did. He glanced over his shoulder for one last time and as he did heard the fence give way, the dogs broke through, stumbling over each other in their eagerness to catch him. Panicking he jumped backwards into the path of an oncoming car. The car smashed into his torso sending him spinning, his spine splintered. There was a screech of brakes and the smell of rubber on tarmac as the car slid in the wet. The dogs were barking but without as much bravado as they had been, they seemed somewhat confused by what they were seeing. The car eventually came to a standstill and the driver climbed out slightly shaken but looking for the animal he had hit.

The fox lay there, his tail soaked in blood and shimmering in the light, his hind legs were limp and lifeless, his back twisted. He was breathing very shallow and the last gasps of air burned into his lungs. As he slipped into unconsciousness he felt himself lifted from the tarmac and the skin in his neck puncture as the dogs recovered from their confusion to lunge at him. The driver of the car shouted in anger at the dogs and then nothing.


The liquid crystal display flashed to 08:30. This was a daily game, a challenge, watching the clock at 0829 and trying to anticipate when it would change. Jack had missed it to many times to mention, either he had blinked, yawned or been distracted by the television. It was nearly Christmas and the television was full of adverts for toys and games, this was a huge distraction and made the game all the more difficult. Today though he was focused, really concentrating. He would try to be on his way up just as it would change. It was the same every morning, 0830 he had to leave.

It had been 0829 for ages his eyes kept wandering back to the television screen, an advert for the Small Soldiers had just been on, he really wanted to see it but maintained his concentration on the clock. He started to move from the settee and it changed. He’d got it spot on and allowed himself a little smile. He walked towards the door, checked his jacket, picked up his bag and threw it over his shoulder. He got to the front door, turned, kissed his mother and left.

As he went out the front door he checked under his jacket for the reassuring feel of his pea-shooter. He regularly alternated between weapons, yesterday it had been the water pistol but he hadn’t done it up tight enough and it leaked in his coat making it all wet and him cold. The pea shooter was not as versatile as the water pistol but better suited to being carried in a coat or trouser pocket particularly when the weather was cold.

As he stepped outside the crispness of the morning reddened his cheeks and made his face tighten. The house was on a bend and the front door faced directly down the road. She closed the door behind him and went to the kitchen window. She always watched Jack down the road, he hated it but it made her laugh and she needed to keep an eye on him.

Outside he side stepped behind the wall that sheltered the front door. Here he was out of the line of sight from the road and could pick his moment to make himself visible. He listened intently for any rogue sounds from the street. There was the usual bustle that was there every morning, the milkman finishing his round, the post woman would be up the road shortly, then there was the traffic. This was quite a busy road and there was a constant stream of traffic, this made it very difficult to monitor and to spot anything that wasn’t normally there. From behind the wall he breathed deeply and stepped sideways to check the position, as he looked he saw a parked van with a ladder on the top. He panicked and stepped back behind the wall. That was different, he hadn’t seen that before. He breathed deeply again and made his move, he would focus his eyes on the van, there was writing on it but he couldn’t make out what it said. He confidently stepped out from behind the wall and made his way down the path. As he walked he scanned both ways desperately trying not to move his head to much and thereby alerting anyone watching that he knew they were there.

At the bottom of the path he opened the gate taking the opportunity to sneak a quick and nonchalant glance around. He managed to read the sign on the van, they were a double glazing fitters, he wasn’t sure what double glazing was but decided that it posed no threat to him.

Out through the gate, which he never shut, and onto the path. He walked down the road, taking care to stay close to the hedges and walls for cover and not to trip over his shoelace which was clicking against the pavement. As he got close to the van he looked at it closer, there were ladders on top and panels of glass secured to the side. Two men sat in the front reading newspapers and drinking from flasks.

He carried on down the path avoiding the cracks in the paving stones in case they were booby trapped, still scanning everything and keeping an eye out for his lift. Half way down he froze. A man had just come round the corner wearing a long coat, black gloves and holding an Alsatian on a lead.

He checked inside his jacket, his weapon was still there, he would wait until the last minute before drawing it. With his other hand he checked the pocket in his shorts, he had some ammo but not a lot. He wished he’d had his water pistol now, by the time he managed to get the screwed up pieces of paper into the shooter it would be to late. The man with the dog was walking towards him whistling, the dog was pulling on the lead seemingly trying to get into the road.

The path in front of him was completely blocked with the man the lead and the dog covering the whole width of the pavement. He didn’t think that the man had seen him yet, or at least the man appeared not to have seen him, and the dog was busy trying to get at the cars in the road. Rather than run for it he ducked into a neighbours pathway through their open gate and crouched behind a honeysuckle bush. Here he could still see them come up the road but if they made to get him he would have enough of a start to be able to get away from them, at least initially.

His bag between his legs and his heart in his mouth, he crouched on one knee which was freezing against the cold concrete. He was crouched for what seemed an eternity, at this rate he’d miss his car. The man and dog were drawing nearer, he jumped as he heard its bark, and was now doubting that he could out run the dog. He remained crouched and was torn between running and staying, but didn’t know where to run. If he ran home he’d blow his cover and would never be safe. With all these thoughts racing through his mind he didn’t notice that he was edging his way back into the neighbours garden.

Behind him there was an aggressive rapping on the window. He turned and stood quickly looking up at the house. There was an adult at the window who looked very cross and was making gestures with her hand for him to get out. He felt his face redden and panicked, he was in trouble here and yet outside there was potentially more trouble. He had no choice but to run for it. He grabbed his bag from the floor turned and bolted through the open gate straight into the man.


Jacks mother watched him from the kitchen window as he made his way down the pathway. He had done this since he’d seen Goldeneye. He was a bit young to see it, probably, but she’d let him. She let him get away with murder, truth be told. He was nine now, her husband, his father, had died three years ago in an accident at work. She never found out the details, she couldn’t face knowing the nitty gritty of it all. All she knew was that he had died instantly. He worked as an engineer for the British Gas and had died in an accident at the depot.

Jack didn’t really understand what had happened. He just thought his dad had gone somewhere and would return one day. She would explain it to him properly one day when he was a bit older but in the meantime she just let him enjoy himself. Right now he didn’t understand about being dead and she was happy for it to be that way. Right now he was spy crazy and more than anything wanted to be James Bond.

She watched him duck into the neighbours garden and then had seen the man with the dog coming and realised what he was doing. She quickly grabbed her coat and put on her shoes and made her way out of the front door. She ran down the path and out onto the pavement.

The double glazing fitters were now out of the van, one was unloading tools from the back the other was undoing the fastenings that held the windows secured to the side of the van. She brushed past the one on the pavement and as she reached the end of the van collided with the one unloading the tools as he went to help his colleague with the windows. She stumbled backwards but managed to stop herself falling over, the double glazing fitter apologised immediately and was checking if she was OK.

At that moment she saw Jack dart out from his hiding place and hit the man walking the dog.


Peter Elliot was new to the area. He and his wife were new. They had lived in a big house on the edge of town but as their kids had fled the nest decided to move into something smaller. He had retired two years ago at fifty-five and now just worked part time on a consultancy basis to keep from getting bored. Plus it meant he could keep contact with his old working colleagues very easily. Whether he was working or not he always walked his alsatian, Falstaff, in the mornings. Today he was not working and so was out a bit later than normal.

He hadn’t walked down this road yet. They had moved a week ago and since then each walk he had taken to a different route. Partly to get to know the area and partly to find the best walk that he could use regularly. As normal Falstaff was straining at the lead as they walked down the road.

As he walked down the road he suddenly had the wind knocked out of him as a young boy darted out from a gate and hit him in the midrift. He relaxed his grip on the dog lead and Falstaff pulled away from him running into the road.


Bill Jacobs and son had been double glazing fitters for some years now. Bill was fifty-three and considering finally retiring and handing the reins to Terry. Terry was twenty nine and had worked with his dad since he was seventeen. They were a good team. Bill knew the ropes, he had been a carpenter and moved into double glazing in the early eighties. Terry wanted to follow his fathers footsteps and Bill had more than enjoyed showing him the ropes.

They had a job here today and were due to start at nine. As always they were half an hour early so they could have a cup of tea and a quick read of the sport in the paper before starting.


There was the screech of brakes and the smell of rubber as a red saloon car coming up the road braked harshly to stop from hitting the dog. As it braked it skidded and hit a solid blow on the side of the double glazing van.

Bill and Terry were stood by the side of the van along with Jacks mum. As the van was hit it dislodged the glass panels which had just been loosened. The glass toppled off of the runners that held it in place and they both instinctively stuck their hands up to try and catch it. The weight of the glass was to much and they could barely hold it, they were off balance too and it toppled them backwards. Jacks mother, stood between the two men had ducked her head down and was covering it with her arms.

The two men fell backwards, Bill screamed immediately as his ankle, caught on the kerbside, popped out of its socket. As they fell the window hit Jacks mother, her arms offered little protection to her head and she too was forced back. The three fell. There was sickening crunch as their heads were forced into the pavement they screamed in pain but almost the instant they were heard they were silenced by the glass breaking and shattering into millions of fragments over them.


Simon was driving to work. He used this road every day, and every day he would curse at the amount of traffic holding him up from the office that he never really wanted to go to. As he came around the bend the road was clear. He accelerated and as he did so was forced to break harshly as an alsatian appeared from nowhere.

He braked late, his foot already pressing the acceleartor, and instinctively steered away from the dog. He swerved and skidded. Luckily there was no traffic approaching. As he swerved across the road he caught a solid blow against a parked van.

Shook up but otherwise OK he heard glass breaking. He jumped out of his car and ran around the van. Behind him traffic was soon queued and car horns sounded back up the road. He got to the men and Jacks mother.

The two men were semi conscious, their faces covered in cuts and surrounded by glass. Jacks mother was still and making no sound. Her arms were bent at an unnatural angle over head, her face was visible and seemed untouched by the glass. She looked strangely peaceful and there was a serenity about the way she looked. In her neck a shard of glass about four inches long was sticking out. She was bleeding heavily from this wound. Simon ran back to his car unhooked his mobile phone and dialled nine nine nine.

While he was waiting for his connection he turned and looked down the road where he saw a man wrestling a small boy. He was finally connected, he turned back to look at the two men and the woman, he became distressed and couldn’t get his words out quickly enough. He managed to request police and ambulance help and then just dropped his phone onto the floor. Where he slumped burying his head in his hands.


The wind was pushed from Peter’s chest as Jack ran into him from nowhere. He dropped the lead and felt Falstaff pull away from him. Instinctively he grabbed Jack who was struggling to get away from him. His attention on the boy in his grasp he heard a screech of brakes a crash then breaking glass.

He looked up and saw three figures laying on the pavement. A man from the road appeared then disappeared only to reappear with a mobile phone.

He held onto Jack who was wriggling and kicking to get away from him. He didn’t want to hurt the boy and so didn’t want to just let him go as he’d just fall or hit himself against the parked cars.

In the distance sirens sounded and were getting closer. He was looking up the road and saw that the people laying on the pavement were not moving and the fourth person was now just sat slumped beside them. His attention distracted he let Jack go who fell to the floor.


Jack got up and wanted to go home. He noticed that there was now a lot of activity in the street. Car horns sounded up the road, the sirens sounded much closer now and as he looked he could see an ambulance and police car had arrived. Up and down the street people were coming out through gates and looking out of windows to investigate the commotion. Two paramedics were tending to the people laying on the floor. As Jack looked he recognised one as his mum. He shrieked and ran up the road.

As he got to the van one of his neighbours tried to block his path not thinking that he should see this. The neighbour did not realise that it was Jacks mother laying there. As he tried to stop Jack he turned and recognised her. Jack was crying and bundled his way through the legs of the neighbour. He reached her and tried to grab her.


Paramedics reached the scene and tended to Bill, Terry and Jacks mother. One of the paramedics checked for a pulse on Jacks mothers wrist. There was a growing pool of sticky blood surrounding her head. There was no pulse.

Bill and Terry were shaken and cut and the ankle was causing Bill a lot of pain. Blankets were placed over them as they were going into shock and stretchers brought from the ambulance.

A small boy was trying to get to the woman and one of the paramedics tried to move him out of the way. The boy was crying and shaking. The paramedic asked the bystanders who he was and a neighbour explained that that was his mum laying on the pavement. The paramedic picked Jack up and took him to the ambulance. He wrapped him in a blanket and put him in the cab of the ambulance.

He then went back and placed a blanket placed over Jacks mother’s head.


A Police woman and Police man closely followed the paramedics. They called for backup to deal with the traffic build up that had occurred and set about finding the man who had made the call. They found Simon sat on the pavement, his face stained with tears. He explained that a dog had bolted out in front of him from nowhere, instinctively he had braked, he wasn’t travelling that fast and swerved. Next he hit the van and heard glass shattering.


Peter retrieved his dog from the other side of the road. Falstaff was just sniffing around hedges on the other side seemingly oblivious to the commotion that had been caused.

He made his was up to the area of the commotion wanting to see what had happened and what had caused it. As he neared, Simon recognised the dog and lunged at him shouting that it was his fault, the policeman had to fight hard to restrain him but bundled him into the patrol car to calm down.

He came back to Peter and asked him what had happened. He explained that from nowhere a boy had run into him causing him to let the lead go and his dog bolted. He had no idea what else had happened in the meantime.


Jack sat in the ambulance. Frightened, his sobbing had eased and he was sat quietly. His eyes were swollen and red his nose was running.

The police woman tentatively got into the other side of the ambulance cab. She began talking to him softly. Asking him questions that he could not really hear or understand, she was asking him about his mother, telling him. She had a nice voice though, he thought to himself.

She continued to ask him questions and talking about his mum. She had put her arm gently around his shoulder, just like his mother did when he was reading to her. He was just thinking about how much he wanted to go home now and just watch Goldeneye, as if none of this had happened.

She continued to talk to him, she was explaining about his mother, explaining that she was not going to wake up. She was asking him lots of questions, asking him if his daddy was around, and asking about aunts, uncles and grandparents. He was not really listening, he was too confused and upset.

Jack knew his mother was not going to wake up and at that moment realised that his dad was not coming home. He thought back and all he could picture was his mother crying all the time. He now knew why.

The Police woman asked him his name, she had asked him before but he couldn’t speak. But now he knew he could answer her. He turned to her and replied - Butler......Jack Butler, amd at that moment he knew he didn’t want to be a spy anymore.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Short Story writing

About 15 years ago i went through a phase of writing some short stories. I used to write them and send them around my colleagues to read.

People said they were good but i figured that that's what people say! Anyway i managed to write around 10 of them and sent them to a publisher. I received a really positive critique and the conclusion was that if i had a collection of 30 or 40 they could be considered for publishing.

It was at that point i dried up!

I still have ambitions in that area but seem to have lost impetus and imagination, not to mention time. I am trying o find them though and will put them on here as i do.

Have a read and tell me what you think!

Short Story - Prosthetic Shame

I woke up with the prosthetic limb lying accusingly beside me. Not the first time this has happened and surely not the last. This in spite of my mental chastising of myself and mentally promising not to do it again. I have lost count of how many times I have said that.

Sometimes a real live woman will come here. They don’t tend to come back after one visit and it doesn’t happen very often. Certainly not as often as I brag. Hence the prosthetic. One woman did find the prosthetic once, that took some explaining. I concocted some lie about how I used to work in a firm that made them and that this was a slightly damaged model (mentally anyway) that I took to sell on eBay but never got around to it. A rubbish lie but one that was accepted without challenge. The power of cheap white wine!

I’ve had the prosthetic for about two years or so I think.

Want to read more? Then why not download the rest here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


During this years Tour de France Bradley Wiggins was interviewed and asked if he had a message for his family. He replied "...i do it for them, i couldn't do it without them..."

That got me thinking why do we do the things we do in hectic and crammed schedules? For Bradley Wiggins he can genuinely say that he "...does it for them..." because it's his job. Is that what he meant though because he then went further to say that "...I couldn't do it without them..." which could be more like the truth.

When someone asks me what i did on a weekend i may tell them that on Sunday morning i was on the road at 7am for a couple of hours on the bike followed by a run of anything up to an hour. The next question is always the same


I'm not sure of the answer! I'd love to be able to say i do it for my family, that it was my job but sadly that ship has sailed! (Not that it was ever in dock!!)

So the answer has to be i do it for me. There's a number of facets to that answer; I do it for a challenge, for the camaraderie, for the banter, for the competition, to feel good, to be a positive influence on my kids, for health (i'm diabetic and training helps with blood sugar control), to have a diversion, i do it so that my life where i spend so much time sat down does not catch up with me! All of these contribute to me and making me content.

In our busy lives there's all this talk of people having 'me time' - personally i hate that phrase. It seems contrived and indulgent to me. It's more a case of knowing what you want to do and making it happen. That could be anything - an hour reading a book, having your hair done, reading a paper in a cafe, going shopping, a run, a bike ride, a swim - absolutely anything. We should be able to do what we want in context of our responsibilities, it will make us feel good and therefore better to be with and live with.

That's what i think is meant by "...i could't do it without them..." To take of for hours doing what you want to do there's a trade off - something else you could or should be doing? Whether it be cutting the grass, sleeping, having lunch or spending time with your family. To be able to take off you need the family behind you - literally, you couldn't do it without them.

It was interesting to hear a professional athlete talk that way. It was at the end of a stage and so in exhaustion his guard was down - he must be well rewarded for what he does but the demands of cycling are so high that he genuinely could not do it without them. When training involves hours and hours each day you need support behind you to keep normal life ticking over.

Triathlon, ironman, ultramarathons etc all require a significant investment of time and and therefore a trade off and/or the support of those around you. The vast majority of us are not paid for what we do. It actually costs a fortune too - kit, entry fees, hotels, transportation etc - but still we do it.

The why? is, in my opinion, selfish and that is fine so long as everybody knows what's going on and is OK with it! If the why? for me keeps me happy then that cannot be a bad thing can it?

Monday, July 20, 2009

A new chapter beckons....

The information pack for the Mazda London Triathlon (August 2nd 2009) arrived this morning. I have had a quick scan and it looks really complicated! A massive indoor transition area, different routes and laps etc for different days! Nightmare! Well hopefully not on the day but will call for some careful planning and reading ahead of the event. Getting something wrong however small in a race at this distance will make a disproportionate difference.

I’m hoping to break 02:30:00 on what I believe is a fast and flat course. Would be ace to achieve that in what might be my last Olympic distance tri for a little while at least. I have definitely made the decision regards next years races and my plans/strategy and they don’t involve an Olympic tri – well maybe one if @martyglos ever gets to the swim level required!

Instead I will be entering running races at Ultra marathon distance. Initially I want to complete a marathon and then move towards a 50km race that is held locally (Boddington) and then a 35miler (56km) race that takes place in Kenilworth.

I have always been more about stamina rather than power as my cycling testifies, I can keep going but to be able to stretch my stamina and see what I am capable of is about acknowledging that in my current lifestyle and working practice I will not be able to achieve a 70.3 or Ironman distance triathlon. Simply, this is as the amount of cycle training required is too great and the one thing my schedule cannot accommodate is 4-6hr (and beyond) regular training rides.

To compete at Olympic distance I can train just enough on the bike to hit that and perform to a level I am content with. Undertaking a 40km ride in race conditions is very different to 180km! I currently ride less than 100km a week (way less) and so the step up in mileage is huge. Compare this with the increase in running you need to do an ultra- marathon plus the fact that you are dropping two sports and the time commitments are not as huge.

So the decision is made so that I get to fulfil an ambition of undertaking and hopefully completing an ultra endurance event but in a discipline that I know from the outset I have the capability and time to train for. Frankly I cannot wait!

Another contributory factor is reading Dean Karnazes (@deankarnazes) Ultra Marathon Man book. What an amazing and inspiring book. I have read a ton of cycling and running books, all the Lance Armstrong books, the Haruki Murakami running book, ‘Running and Philosophy’ all of them! Quite a collection I have!! But none and I include the Armstong books in this, are as motivating as Dean Karnazes story. I think there are two main reasons for this, firstly although he had a couple of experiences when he was younger he was 30 when he started running. That has to be a major turning point in most people lives – you hit 30 and go one way or another. The route of excess, or the route of taking care of yourself. The second reason is that he does everything he does while holding down a job and maintaining a family. Now the book was written a while ago and so I don’t know if he still has a day job or is sponsorship takes care of things now but even so at the start of his running career he was juggling responsibility and making sacrifices in the same that most of us unlucky not have the mighty Nike or Adidas dollar supporting us are. This really makes it a case of if he can do it then can I?

So all things being equal I will be doing a different sort of training and different sort of racing next year. In my head I am already on that path – I have increased my running and now doing upwards of 50km a week, this will increase further once the tri’s are out of the way and my focus is shifted. I have my training plan sorted and working back from the first race will be following this….

This is as exciting as it was deciding to do triathlon and looking at Olympic distance and thinking I’ll never be able to do that! Nothing quite gets the adrenalin going like a new challenge!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another weeks training, the Malvern Hills and Training and Diabetes ….

This week has been a pretty uninspiring one really.

I bonked in the week on an 11.3km run, was laying down a good time until I hit the 8th kilometre and then ran out of fuel. Felt empty and actually needed to use my glucose tablets (that all good and bad diabetics should carry always) to get me home. I managed the run in 49mins (for an avg. of 7mins per mile) but did not feel good. I had a similar experience a couple of days later – on the gym bike the plan was do to 20km. I started feeling pretty weak and at 10km was much slower than normal for that distance. I carried on but only made it to 15km before I had to quit. That really got me down as it is not something I normally do – I normally will complete what I have set out to do even if it means not doing it as well as I liked.

Towards the end of the week performance picked up a bit and I was back to ‘normal’. So the analysis…..there are a couple of factors that might be involved.

  1. it has been incredibly hot lately and much hotter than normal – at midday the other day it was around 30oC
  2. I have dropped a couple of extra pounds quite quickly and without really changing much
  3. there was a change to routine with breakfast being rice krispies as opposed to the normal bran flakes. Not that significant on the surface except to consider that there’s pretty much nothing to rice krispies!!

After the two sessions I felt my appetite go through the roof which leads me to think that it was a mixture of all three. The drop in weight from not enough fuel and the heat contributing to a lack of power (relatively speaking!!) Thursday and Friday I definitely increased the calorie intake!

Friday saw a return to normal with a decent (if very short) bike ride at lunchtime and then a swim in the early evening at the lido. Friday night was to be a meeting for the team entered to the Cheltenham Triathlon. Only Nigel, Robin and I made it with Mark having work social commitments, Le Fassett responding to a mother-in-trouble and Tony MIA. The required 10 lengths were swum with times varying between 08:50 and 12:00. It looks like the team will have a split with a few at the 9minute and under and potentially 2 in the 11-12mins category. We get out own lane though so the traffic should be manageable.

Saturday was a rest day!

Sunday morning was an earlier than normal start at 7am. The 30minute difference making quite a lot of difference certainly to me! Normally I am awake before the alarm but not this Sunday.

The plan was the 55km bike route that we have used a few times followed by a 5km run. The bike course has taken us previously around 2hrs to complete and the run around 20mins. To finish before 9:30 we started earlier. The ride was great, the temperature was a little cooler first thing and I was glad of my arm warmers. I actually used them all the way round only rolling them down when going up the 2miles of Cleeve Hill. There were KoM points up for grabs with Nigel and Le Fassett battling it out with Nigel ultimately victorious! I was in my customary third but not before having to go past Darren who got past me in the early part of the hill. At the top we agreed that there would be no near death experience that is the sprint finish and so it was a procession back to the house. The bike time was around 1:55:00 which is an improvement of maybe 5minutes on that ride.

Quick change and out onto the run. Just the short 5km around Chargrove Lane, a decent flat course that is a good benchmark and ok for this type of training. There is a definite need for longer runs for stamina but to get rapid foot turnover this is a great loop. We started pretty much together. Darren dropped off the back with Nigel, Le Fassett and I keeping a fairly consistent pace. I resisted the urge to pull away although did try accelerate/decelerate a couple of times to keep Nigel on his toes. I could tell he was behind me as I could hear his breathing. To be honest I could have heard his breathing from about a mile away! He did say that this is how he always breathes on the run!! We eventually dropped Le Fassett and was we pulled back onto Shurdington Road I accelerated away from him and in the last kilometre managed to put about 45seconds between us. Le Fassett came in, in third spot with Darren coming in a few minutes afterwards.

This was a real good session and probably the training brick that has done me the most good in terms of more bike time and more brick sessions. This together with the nutrition and hydration education and changes is probably what has helped me the most this year in terms if not suffering from cramp in the way that I used to. Better preparation both physically and mentally.

After the session there was leisurely coffee with Le Fassett and Sue (Mrs. Bosano!) ahead of a trip to the Malvern Hills with the kids and a picnic!

It is quite a yomp up the Malvern Hills from the bottom and you see people struggling on the paths before they reach the hill proper! We went a different route to normal going up one of the smaller hills. The footpath wound its way up and about half way we reached a point where there was a steep path to the left or the normal gradient straight on. The kids wanted to climb the steep path and so we all did. Expecting that it would be a short cut across a hairpin of the path we were on. We were wrong. The path was a climb/scrabble for about half an hour straight up. Luca steamed ahead and with the top in sight broke into a run. Distance running will definitely be his thing when he is a little older! Amelie was with me and we continued on, for 6 years old she showed a lot of determination and strength to get up the path and never wilted – perhaps she has more in common with her brother than she thinks!! Sue was bringing up the rear although the kids were less worried about this as, as Amelie put it, “it’s a good job you have the picnic daddy”!! At the top we had our picnic, I did a blood sugar test and it was 4.1. I had a sandwich and some cold pizza and no insulin as with more walking to be done and a hard training session that morning I did not want to risk a hypo.

The weather took a change, the wind started to build and dark clouds loomed. Looking towards Cheltenham we could see rain falling. We picked a different path down the hill aiming for St. Ann’s Well and the café. Once off the top of the hill the wind dropped and it warmed up again. The dark clouds blew straight over and it was as if it never happened. We made it t the bottom but in the wrong place for the café. That meant another uphill through 3 or 4 switch backs to get there.

A coffee and a large piece of carrot cake was on the menu! I did a blood test and my blood sugar was 4.7. That was about an hour after lunch where I had no insulin. I ate the cake without administering insulin and when I got home did another blood sugar test and was at 9. That was without insulin since breakfast and highlights the effect of exercise. Without having trained in the morning I would have required insulin at lunchtime and either skipped the cake or had to administer more. As it was I ate sensibly and required probably less than half the insulin I would have normally used.

Needless to say I slept like a baby Sunday night as did the whole Bosano household ;)