Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cheltenham Triathlon 2013

Sunday was the Cheltenham triathlon at the Sandford Park Lido. A
really great local event that gets better every year. It's a super
sprint event raced over 500m in the 50m pool, a 15km cycle around the
town and then a 2.7km run. Due to the nature of the event there's all
sorts of folks that take part, to illustrate this on the bike leg I
was over taken by a chap on a full carbon TT bike wearing a Spiuk aero
helmet and myself overtook a couple of people on MTB's with baskets on
the front. That's part of the appeal though, that its interesting
enough for some really good competitors and also not too scary that
newbies are turned off.

This year, as last, I was in an LRFC Tri-Team comprising
representatives from the U13's Cheetahs and the U14's Cougars. Our
start time was 7:30 and at that time of day the pool was warmer than
being outside.

Racking our bikes in transition there was all the normal banter you
get about each others kit, what we are and aren't capable of and some
other rubbish. It's nerves and adrenaline basically. It was then a
cold walk into the pool and the briefing. One of our team was in a
wetsuit which he was asked to remove, this then showed he had a single
calf guard that he was also asked to remove. Something to do with
buoyancy. He adhered to the rules.

We set off in lane 1 at 10 second intervals. I have not swum properly
since the last tri at the lido in September 2012. Or, put basically, a
year ago. That showed. I was second in the lane, the chap in front of
me pulled away and Britta, starting behind me caught and overtook me
easily. I felt pretty rubbish during the swim as I had no power and
knew I wasn't doing myself justice.

Out of the pool in 3rd spot on our team with Britta and Roger in
transition. I was quickly into my shoes, helmet and race belt on and
heading out. Quicker than them in T1 I exited first. There were a
couple of changes to the bike leg this year. Firstly, on the route,
there are some sets of traffic lights. If you jump the red light it
means a DQ. but then it's not fair if you lose time and others who get
there on green don't. So this year if you were held up you were
credited a minute at each set. I hit two sets and so was credited 2
minutes. This was adequate for the loss of momentum and time waiting
at the lights.

At the first set Roger and Britta pulled alongside and we exchanged
some words of encouragement. The lights changed and I went off,
quicker than them both. I did feel a bit stupid for a moment or two as
started to think should I cycle with them but then actually it's a
race and we all want to do the best we can. So with the thought gone I
put my foot down. I was overtaken twice on the bike, the chap in the
Spiuk aero helmet and another guy on a standard road bike. I tried to
keep pace but just couldn't.

The route change meant a cycle down through Southam rather than past
the mushroom farm into Bishops Cleeve and that downhill was excellent.
It's more a slope but was great for getting some speed up.
Unfortunately at the end are the Smiths Industries lights that were
red. So a loss of momentum and a stop. There was a chap just in front
of me cursing the stop too. I made sure to shout out my race number to
the Marshall so I was credited the time.

When the lights changed I went off fast, I wanted to get in front of
the other chap and get a march up the race course hill. In front there
were a number of competitors struggling to get over the top on large
heavy MTB's. I dropped the guy I was at the lights with and did some
nice over taking. Knowing the course meant I pushed as hard as I could
as once over the top it's a long downhill and flat back to the lido.

Before the end of the bike leg I did have one stupid moment. Crossing
the lights at London Road into the section between the two halves of
Sandford Park there was a guy in front of me down on his Tri-bars. I
was on the hoods and caught him easily. As I went past him up towards
the hospital I saw an arrow pointing left and made a sharp stop and
manoeuvre only to then realise I'd taken the run route! Arghhh! A
curse at myself and quick turn around and I was racing back up past
the hospital, determined to catch the guy I had just passed. I passed
him again as we approached Coxs Meadow when, the pedestrian crossing
was activated and there was a red light. I dutifully stopped only to
see him fly down the inside of the cars and jump the light.

I was really furious at this and so again put my foot down. I was
close as we went into T2 and resolved to do him on the run. A quick
change of shoes and out.

The run is interesting as its short and sharp with, at the start, a
little kick up a gentle slope. With jelly legs its difficult to get a
rhythm and run with any power or balance. The chap that jumped the
lights was in front of me and I passed him easily at the first
crossing. Behind me was a guy who was breathing like he had one lung
and that wasn't working well. Wheezing would be an understatement.

I wanted to do a good run leg so set about trying to drop him. I had
(and still have) no idea what he looked like or how old or anything. I
never saw him, I just heard him breathing. I couldn't drop him. I put
some spurts in and he was there, right behind me heavy breathing. As
we neared the end of the run I was over taken by a guy that came from
a way back. As he passed me I kicked to try and get the ground back
but he ran across me. The reality was I wouldn't have been able to but
his tactic was a little underhand too.

I crossed the line in 46:19 - awesome!

A medal and T-shirt and, more importantly, a breakfast voucher were
great fully received. I then waited for the team to come in. One by
one they all finished, buzzing from good performances and improvements
on previous years (even allowing for the shortened bike course).

What was interesting when looking at the results is that I think my
time compared to last year is slightly faster, I was faster on avg. on
the bike and also the run. So my previous PB of 51:20 would have been
beaten if the courses were the same. Yet my overall position dropped.
In 2012 I was 23rd, this year only good enough for 31st. It may be fun
but its also competitive.

My split times were...
Swim 09:24
Bike 27:43
T2 01:08
Run 10:04

Whilst queuing for my breakfast sandwich a fellow competitor in the
queue spotted me and asked me if I had been in the pool that Monday
evening. The answer was simple, "no". If he had seen me swim he would
have known I had not been.

He then said, "that's funny because someone that looks just like you
was and kicked my breaking my nose." I was feeling good humoured so I
replied that it definitely wasn't me and that if it had been I would
have apologised anyway. A which point he sneered and turned his back
on me. A lady who was with him then said, "you do realise that anyone
that looks like that will now be leaving". I was getting back into my
head now and pulled her up and said "I'm sorry, 'looks like that'" she
then looked embarrassed and said "sorry looks like him"

They left but I then started to think that that guy thinks I broke his
nose when I really didn't and he didn't believe me. So rather than
just ask decently or accept my answer he was rude because he thought I
was living.

Looking back I wish I had;)

That's right, I'm not overweight..... Diabetes type 1

"...that's right I'm not overweight..."

"...yes I can, reasonably, eat what I want..."

Two statements I find myself saying with increasing frequency.

I have diabetes. If you know anything about diabetes you'll realise
that I am type 1. The type that means your pancreas just doesn't work.
Not type 2 which afflicts the obese, where the pancreas cannot keep
pace, or elderly where it is just exhausted.

The media (both mainstream and underground) refer to a diabetes
epidemic in sensationalist headlines. What they actually mean is an
epidemic in type 2 but that doesn't scan so well as a headline and may
confuse readers. I wonder how many people with no exposure to diabetes
understand, or frankly, care about the difference.

As a type 1 diabetic I do care. I think it's important to get right so
that the public understands that there's a difference in the root
cause of the condition. That my diabetes is not self inflicted or
because of misuse but because of a failure. That's quite different to
type 2. Yet type 2 grabs all the headlines as its linked almost
exclusively to the obesity explosion as a result of how we live our
lives, particularly in the west.

I have seen some articles and campaigns for a name change for the two
conditions and could not agree more that this needs to happen. The
confusion over the two conditions is such that I find myself on
occasion having to justify myself and explain how it works to people.
The normal response is an enlightened look and an "...ahhhhhh..."

So please if you are reporting for the mainstream media, writing a
blog or podcasting, or indeed anything that communicates with people,
specify the type of diabetes you are referring to.

To help these are definitions from the Wikipedia.....

> Type 1 diabetes results from the body's failure to produce insulin, and currently requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes".
> Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes".

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rich Roll podcast...

I listen to a lot of podcasts and as I am pretty boring they tend to
be about football and running (I also like the infinite monkey cage
which is a science one so I'm not that boring).

The Rich Roll podcast is an interesting one for me as I listened to
the first couple and didn't really get what they were talking about. I
understood it but it didn't feel like it was something that could ever
apply to me or my world. I still get that sense of it in some ways but
it is changing and that is down to the people he interviews and the
passion with which these people communicate. What I initially
interpreted as being "preachy" really isn't. I, after all, choose to
listen or not.

Last week he had the fruitarian ultra runner, Michael Arnstein, and
then this week Joe Cross. What's remarkable about these episodes and
the podcast in general is that I find it impossible not to be
motivated in that moment by what I am listening to.

Today, for example, I was at the train station listening to Joe Cross
talk about juicing for 60days as part of a reboot. I am at the time
looking for some food to eat on the train ride home. Look around,
there's a burrito bar, a yo-sushi, a boots, sainsburys, Marks and
Spencer's, a couple places selling baguettes and bagels, a McDonald's,
a costa coffee, a couple of bars and a place that's a bit like pret
selling pastries, sandwiches etc.

The majority of what I can see and purchase easily is highly processed
food, carb and fat high and by virtue of being processed, down the
food chain. As an example of what this means from a nutrient
perspective is it better to eat an apple or eat an apple pie? An apple
is the answer, fresh and nutrient rich. Once processed it changes and
that nutritional value diminishes. We all should know and realise

Similarly we all know that a latte is too many calories and a
McDonald's could easily be all your calories for the day with very
little nutritional value save for the gherkin.

So faced with some of western cultures finest fast and convenient food
but with Rich Roll in my ears what do I buy?

A bottle of water, a fruit salad bowl, a few fresh apricot and a small
packet of dried cherries and almonds.

Now I generally do eat healthily but I do like what constitutes bad
food too. I am also weak about it, but you try buying it with a 100%
plant based athlete extolling the virtues of his diet and talking
about his achievements in your ear.

Pretty impossible!

Two runs a day...

This is not really news but it is news to me. Well not news exactly as
I have read a lot, listened a lot and seen many training plans where
two runs a day are referenced and used. I have been running twice a
day on most days for a couple of months now and wanted to capture and
share what i think are the benefits of it.

I am in a fortunate position where I can travel to work under my own
steam. At least 4 days a week i run to/from work. The
shortest/quickest way is around 2.5miles and it can be as long as I
want it to be. What tends to happen is that I run 4-5.5 miles each

The advantages are great for run training.

Running twice daily is a way to increase mileage without over
burdening your body. To run 8 miles is, or feels, like it is more
damaging than running 2x4miles with 7'ish hours rest in between. Makes
perfect sense and works. If I run those distances the times for
morning and afternoon are consistent. I'm not running particularly
fast as its not about that, plus I'm carrying a pack but I can cruise
at 7:20-30 mile pace with no problem.

It's also a way to get recovery. At the end of a week I sometimes run
6-7 miles in and then maybe 2.5 miles home. The run home is great for
recovery and, again, it's not a race. My legs feel a bit stiff at the
start but once moving start to free up and that gentle run home just
works to gets the legs moving and free up any residual stiffness or

With a sedentary job desk time is dead time as far as my body is
concerned. make that recovery time and it makes complete sense.

I'm going to continue to run this way for the foreseeable future as
the benefits to my running have been huge. I have gone from not
running for 18 months to avg. around 40 miles within 3 months of
resuming training. I rarely, currently, run over 6 miles in a single
run yet the mileage increases. You also, in my experience, get to a
point where walking feels weird and stiff and running feels natural.

Runners talk about flow, that feeling that everything is in the right
place, that the rhythm is perfect, you feel focused and running is
easy. I experience that so regularly now that it really does feel like
the most natural mode of movement I could do. It really does feel like
it is something I was made to do.

The next phase is to start to increase mileage a little and introduce
a long run on Sunday mornings. I've run 14.4miles as a max so far on
this comeback, that was last week. What was interesting was that I t
was mentally harder than physically. I take that as a good sign. I
will start to do a longer morning runs of around 10miles in the next
couple of weeks with the run home as a recovery effort. Then into
ember the ultra training starts as I get ready for the Born to Run
ultra in March.

What is absolutely certain is that I will be running twice a day as I
progress towards this goal.